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  • Question

    Any pointers, recommendations, tips or crazy ideas will be greatly appreciated.


    Answer

    Major acquisition programs have a lot in common with exclusive major software development programs despite their application.  That’s one of the reasons the DoD implemented the Major Automated Information Systems (MAIS) program years ago.  MAIS programs don’t need an LRIP nor do they generally face TRL challenges or do they have manufacturing issues to overcome. However, they greatly benefit from a robust systems engineering that considers software-unique design considerations as well as key technical management processes that guide solutions through proven systematic approaches. 

    The Defense Acquisition Guidebook (DAG) outlines very specific policy and guidelines regarding MAIS programs and for good reason.  Over the last decade, the DoD encountered many software program programs that were plagued by cost overruns, schedule delays and broken promises. In retrospect, most PMs who either had software development as a major component of their MDAP or managed a MAIS program would probably agree that software development could have used more emphasis.  Pointers, recommendations, tips or crazy ideas? Any silver bullets? The best advice is to just give your software development activity sufficient attention from the outset and leverage a fully embodied systems engineering approach. Assure the software development processes contain the iterative and recursive “V” gears they deserve.


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