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A Method for Aligning Acquisition Strategies and Software Architectures

October 2014 Technical Note
Lisa Brownsword, Cecilia Albert, David J. Carney, Patrick R. Place

This report describes the third year of the SEI's research into aligning acquisition strategies and software architecture.


Software Engineering Institute

CMU/SEI Report Number


DOI (Digital Object Identifier):


In the acquisition of a software-intensive system, the relationship between the software architecture and the acquisition strategy is typically not carefully examined. To remedy this lack, a research team at the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute (SEI) has focused a multiyear effort to discover an initial set of failure patterns that result when these entities become misaligned and identify a set of desired relationships among the business and mission goals, system and software architectures, and the acquisition strategy. This report describes the result of the third year of the SEI’s research, where the team defined a method that indicates such areas of misalignment (i.e., between a program’s architecture and acquisition strategy). The alignment method is used as early in a program’s lifetime as practical, ideally before the architecture or acquisition strategy has attained full definition. The authors illustrate the method by means of a case study, during which many of the key elements of the method were piloted.