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Patterns of Failure: Acquisition Archetypes

A set of briefs is being developed as an initial part of this effort to describe some of the most common patterns, and assist acquisition programs in handling and avoiding them.

Publisher:

Software Engineering Institute

The SEI is developing Acquisition Archetypes to help the software community identify, manage and prevent recurring patterns of counter-productive practices in software acquisition. This work is based on experiences with actual programs, and uses concepts from systems thinking to characterize and analyze dynamics. A set of briefs is being developed as an initial part of this effort to describe some of the most common patterns, and assist acquisition programs in handling and avoiding them.

Acquisition Archetypes: Firefighting

March 2008

All hands on deck helps put out the immediate blazes threatening projects, but falling into a routine of constant firefighting is not the way to guide a project across the finish line.

Acquisition Archetypes: The Bow Wave Effect

October 2007

From the Acquisition Support Program, one in a series of short papers on acquisition patterns of failure.

Acquisition Archetypes: Feeding the Sacred Cow

March 2008

Some programs take on a life of their own—privileged, and woven into an organization's existence. But when "sacred cow" projects begin to go wrong, that privilege and protection makes fixing them even more difficult.

Acquisition Archetypes: PMO versus Contractor Hostility

March 2008

Everyone intends the best in project-driven marriages of PMOs and contractors, but good intentions can't overcome the hostility generated by loss of trust and squabbles in poorly developed relationships.

Acquisition Archetypes: Staff Burnout and Turnover

September 2008

Applying more pressure on staff can temporarily increase productivity, but burnout soon sets in.

Acquisition Archetypes: Everything for Everybody

March 2009

When projects attempt to please too many customers, complexity mounts, schedules slip, costs expand ... and no one is happy.

Acquisition Archetypes: Underbidding the Contract

September 2008

From the Acquisition Support Program, one in a series of short papers on acquisition patterns of failure. Acquisition Archetype: Underbidding the Contract

Acquisition Archetypes: Longer Begets Bigger

April 2009

Planning for a long development period doesn't always solve acquisition scheduling problems. Sometimes it makes them worse.

Acquisition Archetypes: Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

April 2009

This April 2009 whitepaper is one in a short series of acquisition failures. This paper focuses on the problems of underspending, which can result in funds being shifted from one program to another.

Acquisition Archetypes: Brooks' Law

October 2009

This April 2009 whitepaper focuses on the problems of underspending, which can result in funds being shifted from one acquisition program to another.

Acquisition Archetypes: Happy Path Testing

October 2009

When time and budget are tight, it's tempting to follow the "happy path" in testing. But be careful: it may be a path that brings your program great unhappiness.

Acquisition Archetype: Shooting the Messenger

January 2010

When problems are detected in programs, everyone needs to listen and work together towards a solution. Shooting the messenger only delays the process, and hurts program morale.