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Use of Quality Attribute Workshops (QAWs) in Source Selection for a DoD System Acquisition: A Case Study

June 2002 Technical Note
John K. Bergey, William G. Wood

This case study outlines how a DoD organization used architecture analysis and evaluation in a major system acquisition to reduce program risk.


Software Engineering Institute

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The architecture of a software-intensive system is critical to its quality. For an acquisition organization within the Department of Defense (DoD), evaluating architectures as early as possible in an acquisition can have a favorable impact on the delivered system. This technical note is a case study of how a DoD organization used architecture analysis and evaluation in a major system acquisition, early on, to reduce program risk. The case study begins by describing the system, the motivation for including architecture evaluation in the acquisition, and the Quality Attribute Workshop (QAW) approach. Following this is a brief description of the system acquisition strategy. The case study then describes the set of events (and supporting artifacts) that were required to incorporate QAW architecture analysis and evaluation in the acquisition strategy. In addition, it describes the relationship of these events and artifacts to the source-selection process. Concluding the case study is a description of the accomplishments and lessons learned, along with sample sections from the request for proposal (RFP). These sections provide additional insight into the contractual language that was used to implement the architecture analysis and evaluation approach.