For many organizations, the most valuable engagement with ASP comes
in the form of a program assessment, review, or evaluation. The SEI has
developed a valued reputation as a skilled, fair, and neutral examiner
of software acquisition programs.
Independent Technical Assessments
technical assessments (ITAs) uncover the root causes of problems
affecting software-intensive programs, and provide recommendations that
maximize a program’s strengths and minimize and mitigate its risks.
ITAs are typically initiated by a system program director, program
executive officer, or other acquisition official. ITA teams comprise
SEI staff members and visiting scientists with a mix of expertise who
conduct a series of interviews with program stakeholders and deliver a
briefing and recommendations.
Software Risk Evaluations
software risk evaluation provides program managers with a mechanism to
anticipate and address program risks. This evaluation is used to
identify and categorize specific program risks emanating from products,
processes, management, resources, and constraints. The program’s staff
members participate in the identification, analysis, and mitigation of
risks that could affect their development effort.
Request for Proposal (RFP) Preparation and Reviews
language used in a formal request for proposal (RFP) makes a critical
difference in the quality of the proposals received and ultimately the
success of an acquisition program. The SEI is adept at developing RFP
language, including sample language for a variety of specific clauses
relevant to software-intensive acquisition. For example, some proposals
should specifically address the importance of software architecture,
process improvement, the software test and evaluation approach,
software measurement needs, and requirements. Additionally, the SEI
works directly with acquirers to improve RFP processes and
capabilities, conducting pre-award workshops to help identify and
mitigate risks by evolving the RFP package. After the award, the SEI
helps establish expectations and process interactions between the
acquirer and developers.
SEI supports the proposal-evaluation phase of the source-selection
process by providing technical reviews of the submissions, with an
emphasis on software-related issues. Experienced SEI staff members help
programs prepare to evaluate proposals, judge them against the criteria
set forth in the solicitation, assist with past performance and cost
evaluations, and more.
monitoring a contract requires that a program have in place an
effective, customized measurement system. When a program’s measurement
system includes consistent collection of metrics and analysis for
decision making and fact-based planning, it can operate as an effective
early-warning system for program problems. The SEI helps programs
create a system for recording metrics data so that they can use
reliable historical data as a basis for more accurate program estimates.
System and Software Requirements Architecture Reviews
SEI works with project stakeholders to ensure that customer
requirements, product and architecture requirements, and analysis and
validation processes reflect the fundamental needs that drive programs,
from both mission and business perspectives. In addition, the SEI
advises programs on how to manage requirements and architecture
changes, maintain traceability and change history, and evaluate the
impact of changes from the viewpoint of the stakeholders.
Quality Assessments of System Architectures and their Requirements (QUASAR)
The SEI Quality Assessment of System Architectures and their Requirements (QUASAR)
assessment method provides a practical way to determine if a system’s
architecture, including its subsystems, meets quality requirements. SEI
technical staff members help architects formulate claims, build
arguments, and gather evidence to demonstrate to the program office and
other stakeholders that their architectures possess sufficient quality.
testing approach for a software-intensive system has a significant
impact on the ultimate quality of the delivered system. SEI experts
help to ensure an appropriate approach to software testing by reviewing
the system-test approach. Conducting an evaluation ensures appropriate
test coverage, traceability to requirements, testing for COTS products,
visibility into contractor testing, testing of both quality and
functional requirements, and integration of software testing into the
overall test strategy.
sustainment-readiness review can help an organization determine its
overall software maintenance plan, whether its software is ready for
sustainment, and whether sufficient artifacts exist. Technical experts
from the SEI conduct sustainment-readiness reviews to identify
potential issues with a project entering into sustainment and to
recommend actions for preparing a project for sustainment.
quality, completeness, and level of detail of milestone document
deliverables have a substantial impact on a program’s ability to
execute software development. Experts in many different areas of
systems and software expertise can provide or augment the technical
review of documents produced by both the program office and the
contractor. Types of documents that can be reviewed include those
emanating from the acquisition strategy as well as the transition and
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