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Software Acquisition Survival Skills

This three-day course is designed for program managers and their staff members. It presents an integrated, unique acquisition perspective on key topics in software system acquisition, including risk management, requirements management, pre-award activities, systems engineering, software architecture, technical evaluation, project metrics, and process management. The course provides a broad overview of the skills needed in a program office to manage software acquisition, enabling program managers to recognize the needs of their programs in relation to the skills of their staff. More in-depth knowledge of many of these topics can be obtained through related SEI course offerings.

During the course, participants are presented with common problems that affect real acquisition programs. The course explores the nature and the impact of each problem, along with ways to recognize the symptoms, avoidance methods, and recovery techniques. Composed of lectures and class exercises, this course allows ample opportunity for questions and discussions and provides actionable tips and a set of tools and reference resources to help in the management of current and future projects.


  • U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and other government program managers and their staff members responsible for projects and programs requiring the acquisition of software-intensive systems
  • program managers, project managers, and project staff of contractors providing software-intensive systems to the government
  • program managers, project managers, and project staff of contractors acquiring software-intensive systems as elements of products that they are developing for the government


The course helps participants to

  • understand some of the major problems encountered when acquiring software-intensive systems
  • identify the symptoms of these problems
  • recognize the potential impact of these problems
  • use proven techniques to avoid these problems before they become critical
  • exercise "recovery methods" when these problems challenge the project

Two hours of homework is assigned on the first and second evenings of the course.


  • software system acquisition
  • risk management
  • requirements management
  • pre-award activities
  • systems engineering
  • software architecture
  • technical evaluation
  • project metrics
  • process management


Participants receive a course notebook, various tools to help manage software acquisition, and additional readings.


Before enrolling in this course, participants should have some knowledge of

  • U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) or federal acquisition processes and practices
  • basic project management skills
  • fundamentals of software acquisition


This 3-day course meets at the following times:

Days 1-3, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

This course may be offered by special arrangement at customer sites. For details, please email or telephone at +1 412-268-1817.

Course Questions?

Phone: 412-268-7388
FAX: 412-268-7401

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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. For more information about SEI training courses, see Registration Terms and Conditions and Confidentiality of Course Records.