Entries Tagged as 'Acquisition '

The Method Framework for Engineering System Architectures

Acquisition 4 Comments »

By Don Firesmith
Acquisition Support Program

Don Firesmith Engineering the architecture for a large and complex system is a hard, lengthy, and complex undertaking. System architects must perform many tasks and use many techniques if they are to create a sufficient set of architectural models and related documents that are complete, consistent, correct, unambiguous, verifiable, and both usable by and useful to the architecture’s many stakeholders.  This blog posting, the first in a two-part series, presents the Method Framework for Engineering System Architectures (MFESA), which is a situational process engineering framework for developing system-specific methods to engineer system architectures. This posting provides a brief historical description of situational method engineering, explains why no single system architectural engineering method is adequate, and introduces MFESA by providing a top-level overview of its components, describing its applicability, and explaining how it simultaneously provides the benefits of standardization and flexibility.  


Reducing Project Failures by Aligning Acquisition Strategy and Software Architecture with Stakeholder Needs

Acquisition , Architecture 5 Comments »

First in a Two-Part Series
By Lisa Brownsword
Acquisition Support Program

Lisa BrownswordMajor acquisition programs increasingly rely on software to provide substantial portions of system capabilities.  Not surprisingly, therefore, software issues are driving system cost and schedule overruns.  All too often, however, software is not even a consideration when the early, most constraining program decisions are made.  Through analysis of troubled programs, SEI researchers have identified misalignments between software architecture and system acquisition strategies that lead to program restarts, cancellations, and failures to meet important missions or business goals. To address these misalignments, the SEI is conducting new research on enabling organizations to reduce program failures by harmonizing their acquisition strategy with their software architecture.  This blog posting—the first in a two-part series—motivates the problem of misalignment and describes the SEI’s current research for addressing this problem by analyzing program-specific quality attributes associated with business and mission goals.


Software Producibility for Defense

Acquisition , Architecture , Common Operating Platform Environments (COPEs) , Software Sustainment , System of Systems , Ultra Large Scale Systems No Comments »

By Bill Scherlis,
Chief Technology Officer (Acting)

Bill Scherlis The extent of software in Department of Defense (DoD) systems has increased by more than an order of magnitude every decade. This is not just because there are more systems with more software; a similar growth pattern has been exhibited within individual, long-lived military systems.  In recognition of this growing software role, the Director of Defense Research and Engineering (DDR&E, now ASD(R&E)) requested the National Research Council (NRC) to undertake a study of defense software producibility, with the purpose of identifying the principal challenges and developing recommendations regarding both improvement to practice and priorities for research. The NRC appointed a committee, which I chaired, that included many individuals well known to the SEI community, including Larry Druffel, Doug Schmidt, Robert Behler, Barry Boehm, and others. After more than three years of effort—which included an intensive review and revision process—we issued our final report, Critical Code: Software Producibility for Defense. In the year and a half since the report was published, I have been asked to brief it extensively to the DoD and the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) communities.

This blog posting, the first in a series, highlights several of the committee’s key findings, specifically focusing on three areas of identified improvements to practice—areas where the committee judged that improvements both are feasible and could substantially help the DoD to acquire, sustain, and assure software-reliant systems of all kinds.


Rapid Lifecycle Development in an Agile Context

Acquisition , Agile , Architecture 13 Comments »

By Robert Nord,
Senior Member of the Technical Staff
Research, Technology, & System Solutions

Robert NordNew acquisition guidelines from the Department of Defense (DoD) aimed at reducing system lifecycle time and effort is encouraging the adoption of Agile methods. There is a general lack, however, of practical guidance on how to employ Agile methods effectively for DoD acquisition programs. This blog posting describes our research on providing software and systems architects with a decision making framework for reducing integration risk with Agile methods, thereby reducing the time and resources needed for related work.


Toward Efficient and Effective Software Sustainment, Second in a Series

Acquisition , CMMI , Software Sustainment , Team Software Process (TSP) No Comments »

By Mike Phillips
Principal Researcher
Acquisition Support Program

 Mike Phillips In my preceding blog post, I promised to provide more examples highlighting the importance of software sustainment in the US Department of Defense (DoD). My focus is on certain configurations of weapons systems that are no longer in production for the United States Air Force, but are expected to remain a key component of our defense capability for decades to come, and thus software upgrade cycles need to refresh capabilities every 18 to 24 months. Throughout this series on efficient and effective software sustainment, I will highlight examples from each branch of the military. This second blog post describes effective sustainment engineering efforts in the Air Force, using examples from across the service’s Air Logistics Centers (ALCs).