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Isolating Patterns of Failure in Department of Defense Acquisition

June 2013 Technical Note
Lisa Brownsword, Cecilia Albert, David J. Carney, Patrick R. Place, Charles (Bud) Hammons, John J. Hudak

This report documents an investigation into issues related to aligning acquisition strategies with business and mission goals.

Publisher:

Software Engineering Institute

CMU/SEI Report Number

CMU/SEI-2013-TN-014

Abstract

This report documents an investigation into issues related to aligning acquisition strategies with business and mission goals. The investigation was motivated by the observation that a significant contributing factor in troubled or failing acquisitions was the misalignment between the software architecture and the acquisition strategy. An examination of a number of acquisition programs led to the discovery of seven repeatable patterns of failure to: (1) document business goals, (2) resolve conflicts between goals, (3) adapt to changing needs, (4) accommodate turbulence in the acquisition environment, (5) give due consideration to software needs, (6) use appropriate acquisition strategies, and (7) understand and use software quality attributes to create the architecture. 

In addition to a detailed description of these patterns, the authors define the artifacts and the relationships that would have to hold between these artifacts in order to combat the failure patterns. Finally, they offer some suggestions on a method, woven from existing methods, for developing the artifacts with sufficient content that one can reason about the strength of the necessary relationships.