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Subject: Software Sustainment

A 5-Step Process for Release Planning

A 5-Step Process for Release Planning

• SEI 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

• SEI 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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Data-Driven Management of Technical Debt

Data-Driven Management of Technical Debt

• SEI Blog
Ipek Ozkaya

This post was co-authored by Robert Nord. Technical debt communicates the tradeoff between the short-term benefits of rapid delivery and the long-term value of developing a software system that is easy to evolve, modify, repair, and sustain. Like financial debt, technical debt can be a burden or an investment. It can be a burden when it is taken on unintentionally without a solid plan to manage it; it can also be part of an intentional...

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Decisions for Sustaining a Software Product Line

Decisions for Sustaining a Software Product Line

• SEI 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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Three Approaches to Adding Flexibility in Software Sustainment Contracting

Three Approaches to Adding Flexibility in Software Sustainment Contracting

• SEI Blog
Julie Cohen

This post was co-authored by Cecilia Albert and Harry Levinson. At the SEI we have been involved in many programs where the intent is to increase the capability of software systems currently in sustainment. We have assisted government agencies who have implemented some innovative contracting and development strategies that provide benefits to those programs. The intent of the blog is to explain three approaches that could help others in the DoD or federal government agencies...

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Efficient and Effective Software Sustainment of Product-Line-Based Systems

Efficient and Effective Software Sustainment of Product-Line-Based Systems

• SEI Blog
Mike Phillips

In the SEI's examination of the software sustainment phase of the Department of Defense (DoD) acquisition lifecycle, we have noted that the best descriptor for sustainment efforts for software is "continuous engineering." Typically, during this phase, the hardware elements are repaired or have some structural modifications to carry new weapons or sensors. Software, on the other hand, continues to evolve in response to new security threats, new safety approaches, or new functionality provided within the...

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Toward Efficient and Effective Software Sustainment

Toward Efficient and Effective Software Sustainment

• SEI Blog
Mike Phillips

In my preceding blog posts, I promised to provide more examples highlighting the importance of software sustainment in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). My focus is on sustaining legacy weapons systems that are no longer in production, but are expected to remain a key component of our defense capability for decades to come. Despite the fact that these legacy systems are no longer in the acquisition phase, software upgrade cycles are needed to refresh...

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An Investment Model for Software Sustainment

An Investment Model for Software Sustainment

• SEI 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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The SEI Blog: A Two-Year Retrospective

The SEI Blog: A Two-Year Retrospective

• SEI Blog
Douglas C. Schmidt

In launching the SEI blog two years ago, one of our top priorities was to advance the scope and impact of SEI research and development projects, while increasing the visibility of the work by SEI technologists who staff these projects. After 114 posts, and 72,608 visits from readers of our blog, this post reflects on some highlights from the last two years and gives our readers a preview of posts to come....

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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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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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The Growing Importance of Sustaining Software for the DoD: Part 2

The Growing Importance of Sustaining Software for the DoD: Part 2

• SEI Blog
Douglas C. Schmidt

Software sustainment is growing in importance as the inventory of DoD systems continues to age and greater emphasis is placed on efficiency and productivity in defense spending. In part 1 of this series, I summarized key software sustainment challenges facing the DoD. In this blog posting, I describe some of the R&D activities conducted by the SEI to address these challenges....

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The Growing Importance of Sustaining Software for the DoD: Part 1

The Growing Importance of Sustaining Software for the DoD: Part 1

• SEI Blog
Douglas C. Schmidt

Department of Defense (DoD) programs have traditionally focused on the software acquisition phase (initial procurement, development, production, and deployment) and largely discounted the software sustainment phase (operations and support) until late in the lifecycle. The costs of software sustainment are becoming too high to discount since they account for 60 to 90 percent of the total software lifecycle effort....

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