Applying the Fundamentals of Quality to Software Acquisition
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Historically, software developed under government contracts often does not stand up under real-world use, and defects frequently result in cost and schedule overruns. While proposed development activities from contractors commonly list measures to improve quality, these descriptions cannot be used to select a winning bidder if they are not part of the evaluation criteria. By making software quality requirements explicit at the proposal stage, contractor selection can be influenced by criteria based on best practices in software development. If we want to improve the quality of our software, a ﾓQuality in Depthﾔ approach is neededﾗintroducing quality-related measures at every stage of software acquisition. In a previous article, one of the authors provided recommendations for improving software quality at the construction phase (Spiewak & McRitchie, 2008). This article discusses how to apply these same principles to the source selection process. In order to find a way to include software practices as selection criteria, the authors set out to identify and recommend changes to Sections L and M of a government RFP (Request for Proposal) or IFPP (Instructions for Proposal Preparation) and EC (Evaluation Criteria) in an attempt to improve software and system quality. These changes will enable selection teams to identify contractors whose software development processes and compliance with software quality standards are more likely to produce the desired results.
NPS Report NumberSYM-AM-17-048
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