Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University
Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University

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Special Report

Spiral Development and Evolutionary Acquisition

  • Abstract

    The evolutionary acquisition strategy has been promulgated by the forthcoming DoD Instruction 5000.2. It introduces innovations throughout the acquisition cycle: before a contract is considered, technology readiness guides the choice of experiments; contracts are let for one or more blocks; and progress within each block is managed with spiral development. There is some confusion as to the nature of evolutionary acquisition and spiral development and their relationship. To address these problems, a workshop was held September 13-15, under joint sponsorship of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Science and Technology, the Software Engineering Institute, and the Center for Software Engineering. This report summarizes the workshop and presents its recommendations.  

    Themes appearing in the workshop presentations included the lack of understanding of the definitions of evolutionary acquisition and spiral development, some extensions to these definitions, the barriers imposed by existing funding and contracting policies, the need for teamwork among all stakeholders, and the role of education and training in acculturation. Work groups at the workshop recommended specific actions aimed at building and spreading a culture for evolutionary acquisition and spiral development. These actions can be grouped under the topics of improvements to contract models, revision of funding approaches, adaptation of acquisition policies, enhancement of integrated product teams, training and acculturation of participants, and studies of evolutionary acquisition and spiral development to validate and improve them.

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