Software Architecture in DoD Acquisition: An Approach and Language for a Software Development Plan
journal contributionposted on 01.02.2005, 00:00 by John K. Bergey, Paul C Clements
The right software architecture is essential for a software-intensive system. Meeting behavioral requirements and providing quality attributes such as real-time performance, reliability, and maintainability are essential architectural drivers. Because an architecture comprises the earliest, most important, and most far-reaching design decisions, making sure that the architecture will be fit for purpose is one of the most powerful, technical risk mitigation strategies available to a program office. This technical note covers one avenue of exercising architectural control-the Software Development Plan (SDP). The report provides an example approach and corresponding SDP language that enable software architecture to play a central role in the technical and organizational management of a software development effort. The example is drawn from an actual SDP written by a major U.S. Department of Defense contractor in a weapon-system procurement. The intent is to provide an example for other acquisition organizations to use (and adapt as appropriate) in their own procurements. While the example is based on a contracting approach with a lead system integrator, it can serve as a model for using an architecture-centric approach effectively to unify and manage software development across multiple suppliers, as found in the conventional prime-with-subcontractors acquisition context.