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The Implementation process is comprised of two primary efforts:

  1. Design
  2. Realization

The outputs of the Implementation process include:

  1. The detailed design, down to the lowest level system elements in the system architecture
  2. The fabrication/production procedures of forming, joining and finishing, or coding for software

Depending on technology maturity, the Implementation process may develop, buy or reuse system elements to render the system.

Implementation is integral to systematically increasing maturity, reducing risk and ensuring the system is ready for Integration, Verification, and Validation. The Implementation process provides a system that satisfies specified design and stakeholder performance requirements. As a best practice, the Systems Engineer should develop an implementation plan that includes implementation procedures, fabrication processes, tools and equipment, implementation tolerances and verification uncertainties.


Implementation begins in the Materiel Solution Analysis (MSA) phase, where the Analysis of Alternatives informs whether the preferred materiel solution can be developed, bought or reused.

image showing the DoD Acquisition Framework with the first phase box, Materiel Solution Analysis, highlighted in yellow

This analysis takes many forms, such as the use of models, simulations, experiments and prototypes through which competing systems can be assessed. Careful decisions regarding the design of system elements can enable the use of open (non-proprietary) standards and an open systems or modular approach that may allow for resiliency as well as reduce costs and promote competition during development, production, technology refresh and life-cycle extension.

Design activities may include:

  • Identifying and analyzing the constraints that the technology and design and realization techniques impose on the design solution.
  • Developing design and implementation prototypes and solutions for the system elements.
  • Analyzing candidate system element design and implementation solutions and conducting variability studies to identify conflicts and resolution alternatives to ensure system integrity.
  • Identifying fabrication and quality procedures, and documenting design assumptions and decisions in the final system elements drawings or technical data package.
  • Identifying any special tools or processes required to sustain custom, or non-COTS, parts.


Realization is the process of building the system elements using specified materials and fabrication and production tools/procedures identified during design. Early fabrication and production planning is critical for the successful realization and delivery of the needed capability. System elements are built to the product baseline and should meet quality standards.

image of man welding

Realization activities may include:

  • Obtaining or acquiring access to materials and tools required to build system elements.
  • Obtaining external system elements as applicable.
  • Building system elements in accordance with implementation procedures, tolerances and applicable ESOH, security, and privacy.
  • Determining system elements functionality against specified product quality characteristics.
  • Document fabrication and production issues and associated corrective actions.
  • Delivering implemented system elements for integration and verification.

The output of the Implementation process is the physical system elements as identified in the product baseline, including fabrication and production methods.


Key Terms


Source: DAU Glossary

Statutes, Regulations, Guidance

DAU Courses

Products and Tasks

Product Tasks
AWQI 5-1-1: Detail design down to the lowest level system elements in the technical data package
  1. Identify and analyze the constraints imposed on the design solution by the system technology and design, as well as manufacturing techniques.
  2. Develop design solutions and implementation prototypes for the system elements.
  3. Analyze candidate system element design and implementation solutions.
  4. Conduct variability studies to identify conflicts and resolution alternatives.
  5. Identify fabrication methods (hardware), coding procedures (software), and quality assurance procedures for the final system elements.
  6. Document design assumptions and detailed design in the technical data package to establish the initial product baseline.
AWQI 5-1-2: Document fabrication and production (or coding) issues and associated corrective actions with recommended disposition
  1. Identify the developer’s materials and tools required to build (or code software) system elements.
  2. Obtain external system element documentation, hardware, and / or software to deliver to the system developer as Government furnished information / equipment / software as applicable.
  3. Assess system developer’s building / coding of system elements in accordance with the developer’s implementation procedures, tolerances, and applicable laws, regulations, and standards as documented in the approved initial product baseline.
  4. Determine system elements’ functionality against specified product quality characteristics as documented in the approved functional/allocated baseline.
  5. Document fabrication and production (or coding) issues and associated corrective actions, and recommend disposition through the program’s established configuration management process.

Source: AWQI eWorkbook