Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University
Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University

Interoperable Acquisition Overview

This workshop introduces key concepts for acquisition in the context of systems of systems. The focus is on how to integrate classical program management activities, system development practices, operational activities, and sustainment into an effective set of practices to attain interoperable capability enabled by systems exchanging information and operating on that information according to specified, agreed-to operational semantics across systems of systems. Through a combination of lecture, group exercises, and class discussions, a set of practices collectively referred to as "interoperable acquisition" is introduced and shown to provide the foundation for effective acquisition in a systems-of-systems environment.

Who should attend?

  • Individuals who make decisions about systems-of-systems strategy and implementation
  • Technical managers, managers, and engineers who are working in acquisition programs in a systems-of-systems context and seek an explanation of what interoperable acquisition in a systems-of-systems context involves
  • Individuals tasked with the acquisition, development, or deployment of interoperable systems in a systems-of-systems context


  • Brief overview of interoperability from a systems-of-systems perspective
  • Review of potential pitfalls of "system-centric" approaches
  • Interoperable acquisition practices driven by the nature of and roles played by guiding principles, influence relationships, emergence, and "cultural" issues (e.g., rewards structures)
  • Issues and recommended practices for bringing the acquisition and operational communities into alignment


Successful completion of this course will enable participants to
  • understand the differences between managing programs in a systems of systems context versus traditional systems and identify conflicts within their own program(s) that arise from those differences
  • avoid the pitfalls of using "system-centric" approaches to manage systems of systems
  • apply the basic concepts of interoperable acquisition in their context


Participants should be familiar with problems related to acquiring and managing systems that are part of a system of systems or multiple systems of systems. In addition, they should have some acquisition experience (e.g., project engineer, program manager, etc.). Membership in the "acquisition professional community" (or equivalent) is not required.


Participants will receive a course notebook with copies of the course slides.

Training courses provided by the SEI are not academic courses for academic credit toward a degree. Any certificates provided are evidence of the completion of the courses and are not official academic credentials.

Course Details

Delivered at the customer's site, Interoperable Acquisition Overview is a 1/2-day workshop, with the option to have an additional 1/2-day consulting session with the instructor. For more information or to arrange delivery of this workshop at your site, please contact Linda Shooer at or at 412-268-7622.

For More Information

Phone: 412-268-7622