presentation given by William Novak and Ray Williams at the 2010 Systems and Software Technology Conference (SSTC) on April 29, 2010
Since the 1990s the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute (SEI) has conducted Independent Technical Assessments (ITAs) of mid-sized to large software-reliant acquisition programs. In these ITAs SEI teams have conducted interviews and reviewed documents to gather data on program status and history, and have produced findings and recommendations for corrective action. Using a collection of this data gathered from twelve Air Force programs over the past five years including IT, communications, and command and control systems, we have analyzed weaknesses and best practices in both technical and programmatic areas. While each individual program’s predicament may appear to be unique, we draw higher-level inferences identifying relationships across the findings, behavioral patterns, and potential root causes of program cost, schedule, scope, and quality problems. In conclusion, we suggest corrective and preventative strategies that exploit leverage points within these patterns.