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

Acquisition Patterns of Failure

Why the work began

SEI acquisition experts sought to answer a fundamental, troubling question: Why do problems persist in software development and systems acquisition, despite the fact that solutions to many of these problems exist and have been known for decades?

Where we started

We observed that increasing complexity, virtuality, and interoperability describe an environment ripe for new problem-solving models, for new approaches to dynamic complexity, for abstracting, handling, and transforming information.

What the R&D sponsor received

Thirteen acquisition archetypes each describe a generic story, a scenario that plays out in many different situations and environments, but always follows the same underlying pattern.

How it helps organizations now

The DoD acquisition community has a set of quintessential archetypes (based on real-world experience) that reflect some of the typical dilemmas, tradeoffs, and interdependencies evident in everyday acquisition practice. These archetypes are available as learning-in-action through clear and understandable stories, along with compelling analysis. In addition, the SEI has published practical guidance on how to identify, break out of, and prevent these counter-productive behaviors.