Publication:
Comparing Acquisition Strategies: Open Architecture versus Product Lines

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Authors
Guertin, Nicholas
Clements, Paul
Subjects
Open Architecture (OA)
Advisors
Date of Issue
2010-04-30
Date
30-Apr-10
Publisher
Monterey, California. Naval Postgraduate School
Language
Abstract
An open architecture is a development methodology that employs published, widely accepted standards for defining key interfaces within a system. Systems that are ''open'' have components that can be provided by different vendors, allowing performance improvements and technology refreshments at a faster pace than ''closed'' systems. This ''open'' approach for constructing systems can be augmented by acquisition practices that leverage these ''open'' technical attributes to facilitate competition. This paper gives an overview of open architecture acquisition approaches and investigates whether open architecture by itself is sufficient to provide the stated goals of rapid fielding, reduced cost, and interoperability among systems. After that, we compare the open architecture approach to another acquisition approach for systems, namely the product line approach. A product line is a set of systems that share a common, managed set of features that satisfy the specific needs of a particular market segment or mission and that are developed from a common set of core assets in a prescribed way (Software Product Lines, n.d.). Several US DoD systems acquisitions are currently taking the product line approach. We provide an overview of a various product-line-based acquisition strategies and discuss the relative advantages and disadvantages of the product line approach. We argue that open architecture principles are an essential ingredient of the product line approach for the DoD. Furthermore, the product line methodology consists of a robust set of practices that will generally yield more repeatable results of increased performance and lower risk at minimal cost. The combination of the two approaches will deliver more benefits to the acquisition organization than either approach alone. Finally, we highlight the challenges associated with management of an open product line across multiple providers.
Type
Technical Report
Description
Proceedings Paper (for Acquisition Research Program)
Department
Acquisition Management
Other Research Faculty
Identifiers
NPS Report Number
NPS-AM-10-033
Sponsors
Naval Postgraduate School Acquisition Research Program
Funder
Format
Citation
Distribution Statement
Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
Rights
This publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.