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Beyond Technology Readiness Levels for Software: U.S. Army Workshop Report

[document] Submitted on 19 February, 2019 - 14:13
Keywords levels for software technology readiness us army workshop report
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Workshop participants agreed that the knowledge represented by a readiness indicator, at any
level, should provide assurance that the software is mature enough to proceed to the next
acquisition phase. Such knowledge has many facets. Within the time constraints of the workshop,
attendees focused on defining a candidate set of five “software readiness levels” (SRLs)—
concept, architecture, design/prototype, developed, and ready for deployment—and mapping
those SRLs to the acquisition life cycle.

It turns out that the mapping is highly dependent on the type of system being developed. Mapping SRLs to weapon systems with embedded software is more straightforward than mapping to systems in which the software effectively is the system, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

It is interesting to note that the SRLs that occur earlier in development (concept, architecture, and
design/prototype) tended to emphasize product insight while the later SRLs tended to have more
of a process focus. In addition, participants noted that the proposed SRLs did not treat
satisfactorily the programmatic aspects of software development, post-deployment issues such as
software sustainment and evolution, and systems of systems.

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This work is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense. The Software Engineering Institute is a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Linda Levine, Michael Bandor, and Linda Northrop
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