COTS Selection and Implementation
Within Company X Projects
Company X projects and customer are based in the Defence and Government markets, these customers are escalating their demand for commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) and other pre-existing components in business system solutions. Attempts to exploit these components through use of traditional engineering approaches that involve defining requirements, producing architectures; then searching for components that meet the specified requirements within the defined architecture have been disappointing.
The first major impact of this was seen on Project X as Company X first steps into the LSI (Large System Integration) arena, this trend has continued with all projects now having significant COTS components within their design.
In this document we will look at the problems faced by Company X in the continuing use of COTS components in LSI projects and their impact on business and engineering processes, this will be specifically focused on the use of COTS IT components, though the same issues face us in the use of COTS networking equipment as well. I have used my knowledge of IT projects and to lesser extents investigation work package as the basis of this paper.
From my research in to the field of COTS-based Systems (CBS) engineering I have found that the effective use of COTS components demands new ways of doing business, new skills, knowledge, and abilities; changed roles and responsibilities; and different processes. For us to achieve the benefits of the commercial components while managing the drawbacks, we must drive the definition and understanding of the requirements, the end-user business processes, the architecture, and the cost, schedule, risk and vendor relationships. Given that we intend to increase our use on architectural frameworks and RUP it follows that any process selected should work with these ideas, for this proposal I will document how Evolutionary Process for Integrating COTS-Based Systems (EPIC) and the use of Earned Value in the context of CBS solutions can be implemented into Company X GATE process and project lifecycle; also of importance is the discussion on the criteria we use to select components.
“The poor general lives to fight battles.
The wise general lives to win the war.”
The use of commercial products can have profound and lasting impact on the spiralling cost and effort of building Defence systems, particularly information systems. It is important, however, to remember that simply “using COTS” is not the end in itself, but only the means.
Challenges using COTS faced by Company X