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Software Architecture in DoD Acquisition: A Reference Standard for a Software Architecture Document

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journal contribution
posted on 01.02.2005 by John K. Bergey, Paul C Clements
The right software architecture is essential for a software-intensive system to meet its functional requirements as well as its quality requirements that govern real-time performance, reliability, maintainability, and a host of other quality attributes. Because an architecture comprises the earliest, most important, and most far-reaching design decisions, it is important for an acquisition organization to exercise its oversight prerogatives with respect to software architecture. Having the right software architecture documentation is a prerequisite for managing and guiding a software development effort and conducting in situ software architecture evaluations. Conducting an architecture evaluation to determine the software architecture's fitness for purpose is one of the most powerful, technical risk mitigation strategies available to a program office. This report provides an example reference standard for a Software Architecture Document (SAD). An acquisition organization can use this standard to contractually acquire the documentation needed for communicating the software architecture design and conducting software architecture evaluations. The example used in this report is drawn from an actual SAD written by a major U.S. Department of Defense contractor in a weapon system acquisition. The intent of this report is to provide an example for other acquisition efforts to use (and adapt as appropriate) in their own procurements.