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Other titles in the SEI Series in Software Engineering series:
Managing Software Acquisition: Open Systems and Cots Products (SEI Series in Software Engineering)by Craig B. Meyers
In the rapidly changing world of software acquisition, open systems and commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products continue to grow in importance because of their expected functional and economic advantages. This book will help you understand the many issues surrounding acquisition of open, COTS-based systems. Although our focus is on software acquisition, this book can equally apply to hardware and system acquisition. You also need to understand the relationship between open systems and COTS products. If you understand these issues, you can more easily deal with the dynamics of today's acquisition environment.
The intended audience of this book is project managers and their staffs who are involved in designing, developing, procuring, maintaining, funding, or evaluating computer systems in both private and public sectors. We use the term project manager to denote the individual responsible for completion of the acquisition activities for systems in government and industry. We use the term project staff to denote the many professionals who support the project manager. Each of these professionals has different responsibilities, concerns, and technical expertise, but the use of open systems and COTS products will affect each person in some way.
We recognize that readers may very well have experience in basic project management. We include some basic management information as background so that we can get all readers on the same page. The real difference arises, however, when we apply our management skills in the context of open, COTS-based systems. That's the challenge we want to help you address.
PurposeThe purposes of this book are to
Terms associated with open systems and COTS products have many different definitions. Experts may not agree, and you may find a lot of hype. We need to share a common understanding of what these terms mean, and we take care in defining relevant terms.
The use of open systems and COTS products has both potential benefits and potential difficulties. In this book, we discuss both. Emphasis on an acquisition approach that uses open systems and COTS products will change the way you do your job. We hope that this book helps you identify--and be able to successfully deal with--the challenges that lie ahead.
In writing this book, our emphasis is on principles related to the acquisition of systems that are based on open systems and COTS products. If you are able to understand the principles, you are more likely to be able to deal with management issues. Thus, our focus is not toward
We believe that emphasis on principles will help you more than lots of details will. In many cases, a particular approach for your system will depend: on your situation, your goals, and your approach to meet the problems you will face along the way.
Open systems and the use of COTS products present unique challenges for government programs. Because the government's business practices are inherently different from those of industry, we devote special attention to government concerns. We hope that, to some degree, we can build a bridge and develop a shared understanding between government and industry regarding acquisition issues related to open systems and COTS products.
Organization and Content
This book consists of five main parts, which contain related chapters, and four appendixes.
This book uses two types of special notations to help you as you read this book. When we define a key term, we present it as follows.
open system: A collection of interacting software and hardware component implementations, and users
The second type of notation is for material that you may find interesting, enlightening, humorous, or thought provoking. Sometimes, we have included anecdotes from colleagues. We present this special information in a gray box like the following.
Each chapter includes a number of open-ended questions in a section titled Food for Thought. These items have been taken from our experience over a number of years teaching this material to audiences that include people who are involved in acquisition on a daily basis. We include these questions to illustrate some of the issues that may confront you as you conduct your job.Few "right" answers apply universally to all project managers or systems. For this reason, it is difficult to give answers to these questions; in many cases, it depends: on the circumstances that are unique to your system. It is possible, however, to trace various approaches back to the principles discussed in this book. When you complete a chapter, look at these questions and spend a bit of time thinking your way through them. You may find some of the questions difficult, but don't be frustrated by them. Deal with them in the same way you would deal with any other difficult issue. You're also encouraged to discuss them with your colleagues.
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