Total ownership cost - system software impacts
Naegel, Brad R.
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Department of Defense (DoD) software-intensive systems and the software content in other systems will continue to grow and may dominate total ownership costs (TOC) in the future. These costs are exacerbated by the fact that, in addition to contracted development costs, the bulk of software sustainment costs are also contracted. All of these factors indicate that DoD system software will continue to b a very expensive portion of TOC. The software engineering environment remains immature, with few, if any, industry-wide standards for software development or sustainment. The Defense Acquisition System (DAS) is significantly dependent on mature engineering. System software size and complexity are key indicators of both development costs and sustainment costs, so initial estimates are critical for predicting and controlling TOC. Unfortunately, the software size estimating processes require a significant amount of detailed understanding of the requirements and design that is typically not available when operating the DAS without supplementary analyses, tools, and techniques. Available parametric estimating tools require much of the same detailed information and are still too inaccurate to be relied upon. Similarly, understanding the potential software complexity requires in-depth understanding of the requirements and architectural design. It is clear that the DoD must conduct much more thorough requirements analyses, provide significantly more detailed operational context, and drive the software architectural design well beyond the work breakdown structure (WBS) functional design typically provided. To accomplish this, the DAS must be supplemented with tools, techniques, and analyses that are currently not present. Program managers for software-intensive systems must supplement the DAS processes to • compensate for the immature software engineering environment • gain sufficient detailed information to perform reasonable software size and complexity estimates critical to understanding and managing system TOC • complete the inventory of derived and implied requirements, including the often neglected sustainability requirements, before the request for proposal (RFP) is issued • provide more detailed system operational context, beyond what exists in most Operational Mode Summary/Mission Profile documents • obtain more realistic contractor proposals in terms of cost and schedule associated with the software development and sustainment • drive the software architecture for a more sustainable, less complex design • monitor the software design process (metrics) to ensure the effort is progressing towards an effective, supportable, and testable design supporting the warfighter. The tools, techniques, and analyses presented in this research are designed to accomplish the tasks outlined above and are compatible with the Systems Engineering Process supporting the DAS. They also are designed to work together in a synergistic method to improve the software-intensive system development and sustainment performance influencing system TOC. Combined, the tools, techniques, and analyses provide a much improved understanding of the system and identify critical attributes that the software developers need to know to design an effective and supportable design. These tools help compensate for the immature software engineering environment, provide more detailed information needed to perform size and complexity estimates, and provide detailed operational context needed for proper software architectural design. They help produce superior RFPs and garner more realistic contractor proposals. They provide processes for monitoring critical software design activities and full test matrix crosswalks. All of these enhancements will help more accurately estimate and manage software TOC attributes.
NPS Report NumberNPS-CE-17-042
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