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Evaluating the Software Design of a Complex System of Systems

January 2010 Technical Report
Stephen Blanchette, Jr., Steven Crosson (U.S. Army), Barry Boehm (University of California, Los Angeles)

The report examines the application of the life-cycle architecture milestone to the software and computing elements of the former Future Combat Systems program.


Software Engineering Institute

CMU/SEI Report Number


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Schedule- or event-driven reviews are a crucial element of any major software development project. Such reviews tend to focus on different aspects of development, and different types of reviews provide different benefits. The sum of these reviews, however, is inadequate to address the needs of software development in a complex system of systems (SoS) environment. What is needed is a true, evidence-driven, SoS-level evaluation capable of providing an overall assessment of, and insight into, the software development effort in that context. 

This report discusses the application of the Lifecycle Architecture (LCA) event to what was an enormously complex SoS program: the Army’s Future Combat Systems. From the FCS experience, readers will gain insight into the issues of applying the LCA in an SoS context and be ready to apply the lessons learned in their own domains.