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Subject: Acquisition

The Technical Architecture for Product Line Acquisition in the DoD - Fourth in a Series

The Technical Architecture for Product Line Acquisition in the DoD - Fourth in a Series

• SEI Blog
Nickolas Guertin

This post is co-authored by Douglas C. Schmidt and William Scherlis. DoD technologies have traditionally relied on cyber-physical/software-intensive systems that are now widely available to all nations and non-state actors. The DoD's past practice of incorporating commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technologies on a system-by-system basis are insufficient to stay ahead of its adversaries and increase its pace of change for delivering innovation. The DoD thus needs new acquisition approaches that can achieve rapid delivery, flexibility, and capacity...

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The Organizational Impact of a Modular Product Line Architecture in DoD Acquisition - Third in a Series

The Organizational Impact of a Modular Product Line Architecture in DoD Acquisition - Third in a Series

• SEI Blog
Nickolas Guertin

This post was co-authored by Douglas Schmidt and William Scherlis. To maintain a strategic advantage over its adversaries, the Department of Defense (DoD) must field new technologies rapidly. "It is not about speed of discovery, it is about speed of delivery to the field," Michael D. Griffin, undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, told a Senate Armed Services subcommittee in April 2018. The architecture of Department of Defenses (DoD) acquisition organizations is based on...

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Towards a New Model of Acquisition: Product-Line Architectures for the DoD - Second in a Series

Towards a New Model of Acquisition: Product-Line Architectures for the DoD - Second in a Series

• SEI Blog
Nickolas Guertin

This post was co-authored by Douglas Schmidt and William Scherlis. It is widely recognized that the Department of Defense (DoD) needs to have a nimble response to nimble adversaries. However, the inflexibility of many DoD development and acquisition practices begets inflexible architectures that often slow progress and increase risk to operational forces. This rejection of modern development methods actually increases program risk and extends development timelines, effectively reducing the value of the DoD's acquisition portfolio....

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Emerging Opportunities in Modularity and Open Systems Architectures - First in a Series

Emerging Opportunities in Modularity and Open Systems Architectures - First in a Series

• SEI Blog
Nickolas Guertin

This post is also co-authored by Douglas C. Schmidt and William Scherlis. In its effort to increase the capability of the warfighter, the Department of Defense (DoD) has made incremental changes in its acquisition practices for building and deploying military capacity. This capacity can be viewed as "platforms" (tanks, ships, aircraft, etc.) and the mission system "payloads" (sensors, command and control, weapons, etc.) that are populated onto those platforms to deliver the desired capability. This...

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Helping Large Government Programs Adopt and Adapt to Agile Methods

Helping Large Government Programs Adopt and Adapt to Agile Methods

• SEI Blog
Harry Levinson

The mix of program-scale Agile and technical baseline ownership drives cheaper, better, and faster deployment of software-intensive systems. Although these practices aren't new, the SEI has seen how their combination can have dramatic effects. The Air Force Distributed Common Ground System (AF DCGS)--the Air Force's primary weapon system for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, planning, direction, collection, processing, exploitation, analysis, and dissemination--employs a global communications architecture that connects multiple intelligence platforms and sensors. The AF DCGS challenge...

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7 Recommended Practices for Monitoring Software-Intensive System Acquisition (SISA) Programs

7 Recommended Practices for Monitoring Software-Intensive System Acquisition (SISA) Programs

• SEI Blog
SPRUCE Project

This is the first post in a three-part series. Software and acquisition professionals often have questions about recommended practices related to modern software development methods, techniques, and tools, such as how to apply agile methods in government acquisition frameworks, systematic verification and validation of safety-critical systems, and operational risk management. In the Department of Defense (DoD), these techniques are just a few of the options available to face the myriad challenges in producing large, secure...

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Model Driven Engineering: Automatic Code Generation and Beyond

Model Driven Engineering: Automatic Code Generation and Beyond

• SEI Blog
John Klein

Acquisition executives in domains ranging from modernizing legacy business systems to developing real-time communications systems often face the following challenge:Vendors claim that model-driven engineering (MDE) tools enable developers to generate software code automatically and achieve extremely high developer productivity....

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Agile Metrics: Seven Categories

Agile Metrics: Seven Categories

• SEI Blog
Will Hayes

More and more, suppliers of software-reliant Department of Defense (DoD) systems are moving away from traditional waterfall development practices in favor of agile methods. As described in previous posts on this blog, agile methods are effective for shortening delivery cycles and managing costs. If the benefits of agile are to be realized effectively for the DoD, however, personnel responsible for overseeing software acquisitions must be fluent in metrics used to monitor these programs. This blog...

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The Latest Research from the SEI

The Latest Research from the SEI

• SEI Blog
Douglas C. Schmidt

As part of an ongoing effort to keep you informed about our latest work, I would like to let you know about some recently published SEI technical reports and notes. These reports highlight the latest work of SEI technologists in cybersecurity risks, software assurance, advanced persistent threat, international insider threat, Wireless Emergency Alerts Service, security and survivability, and acquisition....

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Using Quality Attributes as a Means to Improve Acquisition Strategies

Using Quality Attributes as a Means to Improve Acquisition Strategies

• SEI Blog
Lisa Brownsword

Although software is increasingly important to the success of government programs, there is often little consideration given to its impact on early key program decisions. The Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute (SEI) is conducting a multi-phase research initiative aimed at answering the question: is the probability of a program's success improved through deliberately producing a program acquisition strategy and software architecture that are mutually constrained and aligned?...

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Looking Ahead: The SEI Technical Strategic Plan

Looking Ahead: The SEI Technical Strategic Plan

• SEI Blog
Bill Scherlis

The Department of Defense (DoD) has become deeply and fundamentally reliant on software. As a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC), the SEI is chartered to work with the DoD to meet the challenges of designing, producing, assuring, and evolving software-reliant systems in an affordable and dependable manner. This blog post--the first in a multi-part series--outlines key elements of the forthcoming SEI Strategic Research Plan that addresses these challenges through research and acquisition support...

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Strategic Planning: Developing Business Drivers for Performance Improvement

Strategic Planning: Developing Business Drivers for Performance Improvement

• SEI Blog
Linda Parker Gates

Organizational improvement efforts should be driven by business needs, not by the content of improvement models. While improvement models, such as the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) or the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, provide excellent guidance and best practice standards, the way in which those models are implemented must be guided by the same drivers that influence any other business decision. Business drivers are the collection of people, information, and conditions that initiate and...

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A Deeper Dive into the Method Framework for Engineering System Architectures

A Deeper Dive into the Method Framework for Engineering System Architectures

• SEI Blog
Donald 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, usable, and useful to the architecture's many stakeholders. This blog posting, the second in a two-part series, takes a deeper dive into the Method Framework for Engineering System...

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The Latest Research from the SEI

The Latest Research from the SEI

• SEI Blog
Douglas C. Schmidt

As part of an ongoing effort to keep you informed about our latest work, I'd like to let you know about some recently published SEI technical reports and notes. These reports highlight the latest work of SEI technologists in workforce competency and readiness, cyber forensics, exploratory research, acquisition, and software-reliant systems. This post includes a listing of each report, author(s), and links where the published reports can be accessed on the SEI website....

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Reducing Project Failures by Aligning Acquisition Strategy and Software Architecture with Stakeholder Needs - Second in a Series

Reducing Project Failures by Aligning Acquisition Strategy and Software Architecture with Stakeholder Needs - Second in a Series

• SEI Blog
Lisa Brownsword

Major acquisition programs increasingly rely on software to provide substantial portions of system capabilities. All too often, however, software is not considered when the early, most constraining program decisions are made. 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. This blog posting, the second installment in a two-part series, builds on the discussions in part one...

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The Method Framework for Engineering System Architectures

The Method Framework for Engineering System Architectures

• SEI Blog
Donald 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...

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Reducing Project Failures by Aligning Acquisition Strategy and Software Architecture with Stakeholder Needs - First in a Series

Reducing Project Failures by Aligning Acquisition Strategy and Software Architecture with Stakeholder Needs - First in a Series

• SEI Blog
Lisa Brownsword

Major 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...

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Software Producibility for Defense

Software Producibility for Defense

• SEI Blog
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...

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Rapid Lifecycle Development in an Agile Context

Rapid Lifecycle Development in an Agile Context

• SEI Blog
Robert Nord

New acquisition guidelines from the Department of Defense (DoD) aimed at reducing system lifecycle time and effort are 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...

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Toward Efficient and Effective Software Sustainment, Second in a Series

Toward Efficient and Effective Software Sustainment, Second in a Series

• SEI Blog
Mike Phillips

In my preceding blog post, I promised to provide more examples highlighting the importance of software sustainmentin 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...

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Toward Efficient and Effective Software Sustainment

Toward Efficient and Effective Software Sustainment

• SEI Blog
Mike Phillips

Our SEI blog has included thoughtful discussions about sustaining software, such as the two-part post "The Growing Importance of Sustaining Software for the DoD." Software sustainment is growing in importance as the lifetimes of hardware systems greatly exceed the normal lifetime of software systems they are partnered with, as well as when system functionality increasingly depends on software elements. This blog post--the first in a multi-part series--provides specific examples of the importance of software sustainment...

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An Overview of the SEI Technologies Forum

An Overview of the SEI Technologies Forum

• SEI Blog
Douglas C. Schmidt

We use the SEI Blog to inform you about the latest work at the SEI, so this week I'm summarizing some video presentations recently posted to the SEI website from the SEI Technologies Forum. This virtual event held in late 2011 brought together participants from more than 50 countries to engage with SEI researchers on a sample of our latest work, including cloud computing, insider threat, Agile development, software architecture, security, measurement, process improvement, and...

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Using Agile Effectively in DoD Environments

Using Agile Effectively in DoD Environments

• SEI Blog
Mary Ann Lapham

Over the past several years, the SEI has explored the use of Agile methods in DoD environments, focusing on both if and when they are suitable and how to use them most effectively when they are suitable. Our research has approached the topic of Agile methods both from an acquisition and a technical perspective. Stephany Bellomo described some of our experiences in previous blog posts What is Agile? and Building a Foundation for Agile. This...

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The Need to Specify Requirements for Off-Nominal Behavior

The Need to Specify Requirements for Off-Nominal Behavior

• SEI Blog
Donald Firesmith

In our work with acquisition programs, we've often observed a major problem: requirements specifications that are incomplete, with many functional requirements missing. Whereas requirements specifications typically specify normal system behavior, they are often woefully incomplete when it comes to off-nominal behavior, which deals with abnormal events and situations the system must detect and how the system must react when it detects that these events have occurred or situations exist. Thus, although requirements typically specify how...

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A Summary of Key SEI R&D Accomplishments in 2011

A Summary of Key SEI R&D Accomplishments in 2011

• SEI Blog
Douglas C. Schmidt

A key mission of the SEI is to advance the practice of software engineering and cyber security through research and technology transition to ensure the development and operation of software-reliant Department of Defense (DoD) systems with predictable and improved quality, schedule, and cost. To achieve this mission, the SEI conducts research and development (R&D) activities involving the DoD, federal agencies, industry, and academia. One of my initial blog postings summarized the new and upcoming R&D...

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The Latest Research from the SEI

The Latest Research from the SEI

• SEI Blog
Douglas C. Schmidt

As part of an ongoing effort to keep you informed about our latest work, I'd like to let you know about some recently published SEI technical reports and notes. These reports highlight the latest work of SEI technologists in Agile methods, insider threat,the SMART Grid Maturity Model, acquisition, and CMMI. This post includes a listing of each report, author/s, and links where the published reports can be accessed on the SEI website....

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A Collaborative Method for Engineering Safety- and Security-Related Requirements

A Collaborative Method for Engineering Safety- and Security-Related Requirements

• SEI Blog
Donald Firesmith

Background: In our research and acquisition work on commercial and Department of Defense (DoD) programs, we see many systems with critical safety and security ramifications. With such systems, safety and security engineering are used to managing the risks of accidents and attacks. Safety and security requirements should therefore be engineered to ensure that residual safety and security risks will be acceptable to system stakeholders. The first post in this series explored problems with quality requirements...

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The Latest Research from the SEI

The Latest Research from the SEI

• SEI Blog
Douglas C. Schmidt

Happy Labor Day from all of us here at the SEI. I'd like to take advantage of this special occasion to keep you apprised of some recent technical reports and notes from the SEI. It's part of an ongoing effort to keep you informed about our latest work. These reports highlight the latest work of SEI technologists in architecting service-oriented systems, operational resilience, standards-based automated remediation, and acquisition. This post includes a listing of each...

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Common Infrastructure and Joint Programs, Fourth in a Series

Common Infrastructure and Joint Programs, Fourth in a Series

• SEI Blog
Bill Novak

Background: Over the past decade, the U.S. Air Force has asked the SEI's Acquisition Support Program (ASP) to conduct a number of Independent Technical Assessments (ITAs) on acquisition programs related to the development of IT systems; communications, command and control; avionics; and electronic warfare systems. This blog posting is the latest installment in a series that explores common themes across acquisition programs that we identified as a result of our ITA work. Previous themes explored...

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Obstacles in Engineering Safety- and Security-Related Requirements, Second in a Three-Part Series

Obstacles in Engineering Safety- and Security-Related Requirements, Second in a Three-Part Series

• SEI Blog
Donald Firesmith

Background: In our research and acquisition work on commercial and Department of Defense (DoD) programs, ranging from relatively simple two-tier data-processing applications to large-scale multi-tier weapons systems, one of the primary problems that we see repeatedly is that acquisitionand development organizations encounter the following three obstacles concerning safety- and security-related requirements:...

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The Evolution of Science Projects, Third in a Four-Part Series Exploring Themes Across Acquisition Programs

The Evolution of Science Projects, Third in a Four-Part Series Exploring Themes Across Acquisition Programs

• SEI Blog
Bill Novak

Background: Over the past decade, the U.S. Air Force has asked the SEI's Acquisition Support Program (ASP) to conduct a number of Independent Technical Assessments (ITAs) on acquisition programs related to the development of IT systems, communications, command and control, avionics, and electronic warfare systems. This blog post is the third in a series that enumerates common themes across acquisition programs that we identified as a result of our ITA work. Other themes explored in...

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The Need to Sell the Program, Second in a Four-Part Series Exploring Themes Across Acquisition Programs

The Need to Sell the Program, Second in a Four-Part Series Exploring Themes Across Acquisition Programs

• SEI Blog
Bill Novak

Background: The U.S. Air Force has sponsored a number of SEI Independent Technical Assessments (ITAs) on acquisition programs that operated between 2006 and 2009. The programs focused on the development of IT systems, communications, command and control, avionics, and electronic warfare systems. This blog post is the second in a series that identifies four themes across acquisition programs that the SEI identified as a result of our ITA work. Other themes explored in the series...

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A Series on Four Overarching Themes Across Acquisition Programs: First Theme, Misaligned Incentives

A Series on Four Overarching Themes Across Acquisition Programs: First Theme, Misaligned Incentives

• SEI Blog
Bill Novak

Background:Over the past decade, the U.S. Air Force has asked the SEI's Acquisition Support Program (ASP) to conduct a number of Independent Technical Assessments (ITAs) on acquisition programs related to the development of IT systems; communications, command and control; avionics; and electronic warfare systems. This blog post is the first in a series that identifies common themes across acquisition programs that we identified as a result of our ITA work. This post explores the first...

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Building a Foundation for Agile (To Enable Rapid Change)

Building a Foundation for Agile (To Enable Rapid Change)

• SEI Blog
Stephany Bellomo

This is a second in a series of posts focusing on Agile software development. In the first post, "What is Agile?" we provided a short overview of the key elements of the Agile approach, and we introduced the Agile Manifesto. One of the guiding principles from the manifesto emphasizes valuing people over developing processes. While the manifesto clearly alludes to the fact that too much focus on process (and not results) can be a bad...

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 What is Agile?

What is Agile?

• SEI Blog
Stephany Bellomo

If you ask the question, "What is Agile?" you are likely to get lots of different answers. That's because there is no universally accepted formal definition for Agile. To make matters worse, there are ongoing debates over what Agile software development SHOULD mean. That being the case, when answering the question, "What is Agile?" the safest bet is to stick to what people can agree on, and people generally agree on three key elements of...

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A Framework for Evaluating Common Operating Environments

A Framework for Evaluating Common Operating Environments

• SEI Blog
Steve Rosemergy

Large-scale DoD acquisition programs are increasingly being developed atop reusable software platforms--known as Common Operating Environments (COEs) --that provide applications and end-users with many net-centric capabilities, such as cloud computing or Web 2.0 applications, including data-sharing, interoperability, user-centered design, and collaboration. Selecting an appropriate COE is critical to the success of acquisition programs, yet the processes and methods for evaluating COEs had not been clearly defined. I explain below how the SEI developed a Software...

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Strategic Planning with Critical Success Factors and Future Scenarios

Strategic Planning with Critical Success Factors and Future Scenarios

• SEI Blog
Linda Parker Gates

Strategic planning is a process for defining an organization's approach for achieving its mission. Conducting successful strategic planning is essential because it creates a foundation for executing work, as well as setting the stage for enterprise architecture, process improvement, risk management, portfolio management, and any other enterprise-wide initiatives. Government organizations are operating in an environment of almost near-constant change, however, which makes it hard to conduct strategic planning efforts successfully. Moreover, when organizations do tackle...

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