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Posts by Robert Ferguson

A 5-Step Process for Release Planning

A 5-Step Process for Release Planning

• Blog
Robert Ferguson

Software products are often used for two decades or more. Several researchers have shown the cost of maintenance and sustainment ranges between 40- and 80 percent of the total lifecycle cost with a median estimate near 70 percent. Sometimes executives have asked, Why does software sustainment cost so much? This blog turns the question around to ask, Can we get better value from our continuing software investment? Of course, the answer is affirmative. We can...

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Governance of a Software Product Line: Complexities and Goals

Governance of a Software Product Line: Complexities and Goals

• Blog
Robert Ferguson

My prior blog post on product lines in DoD sustainment described the complexity of contractual relationships in a DoD software product line. Recall that a software product line is a collection of related products with shared software artifacts and engineering services that has been developed by a single organization in support of multiple programs serving multiple missions and different customers. A product line can reduce cost of development and support. In exchange, it can be...

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Decisions for Sustaining a Software Product Line

Decisions for Sustaining a Software Product Line

• Blog
Robert Ferguson

A software product line is a collection of related products with shared software artifacts and engineering services that has been developed by a single organization intended to serve different missions and different customers. In industry, product lines provide both customer benefits (such as functionality, quality, and cost) and development organization benefits (such as time to market and price-margin). Moreover, these benefits last through multiple generations of products. This blog is the first in a series...

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An Investment Model for Software Sustainment

An Investment Model for Software Sustainment

• Blog
Robert Ferguson

Software sustainment involves coordinating the processes, procedures, people, information, and databases required to support, maintain, and operate software-reliant aspects of DoD systems. The 2011 book Examination of the U.S. Air Force's Aircraft Sustainment Needs in the Future and its Strategy to Meet Those Needs states...

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A New Approach for Developing Cost Estimates in Software Reliant Systems, Second in a Two-Part Series

A New Approach for Developing Cost Estimates in Software Reliant Systems, Second in a Two-Part Series

• Blog
Robert Ferguson

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has frequently cited poor cost estimation as one of the reasons for cost overrun problems in acquisition programs. Software is often a major culprit. One study on cost estimation by the Naval Postgraduate School found a 34 percent median value increase of software size over the estimate. Cost overruns lead to painful Congressional scrutiny, and an overrun in one program often cascades and leads to the depletion of funds from...

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Improving the Accuracy of Early Cost Estimates for Software-Reliant Systems, First in a Two-Part Series

Improving the Accuracy of Early Cost Estimates for Software-Reliant Systems, First in a Two-Part Series

• Blog
Robert Ferguson

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has frequently citedpoor cost estimation as one of the reasons for cost overrun problems in acquisition programs. Software is often a major culprit. One study on cost estimation by the Naval Postgraduate School found a 34 percent median value increase of software size over the estimate. Cost overruns lead to painful Congressional scrutiny, and an overrun in one program often leads to the depletion of funds from another. This post,...

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Robert Ferguson

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