The acquisition process

A previous discussion in the chapter on contract management has already mentioned ISO 12207 in this context and so we will avoid going into excessive detail herc.

Table I). 1 ISO 12207 Supporting and organizational processes

Supporting processes

Organizational processes



configuration management


quality assurance





joint review


problem resolution

Figure D.2 portrays the main activities that compose the acquisition process. The initiation activity starts with the description of the 'concept' that the acquirer wishes to make real, or the need that the acquirer wishes to satisfy. The requirements of the system then need to be defined by the acquirer. In fact, the acquiring organization could employ an external source to do this for them, but they w ould still have the responsibility of approving these requirements.

ISO 12207 distinguishes between system requirements and the software requirements that now have to be analysed and documented - software requirements relate to the distinct software components that will make up the delivered system. Once this has been done, a decision needs to be taken about the best way to acquire the software, for example, whether to make or buy. This is analogous to the 'defining the project approach' (SU4) activity in PRINCE 2.

Having made this decision, the acquirer is now in a position to prepare the acquisition plan, detailing the steps needed to acquire the software, taking account of such matters as who is to be responsible, for example, for any maintenance and support. Any inherent risks need to be considered. It is also important that at this point the criteria for final system acceptance, and the methods by which compliance is to be evaluated, be defined and recorded.

Another name for request Request for proposal (RFPl The groundwork has now been done for the for proposal" is invitation production of the 'request for proposal' document. This should include sections to tender on the topics listed in Table D.2.

An important activity in the context of ISO 12207 is the tailoring of the standard for a particular project. In some places in the standard, it is stated that certain process requirements should be 'as specified in the contract'. The precise requirements to be included in the current contract now need to be identified. Impending on the type of product or project, it could be agreed that certain ISO 12207 requirements are to be dropped as not appropriate, while in other cases there could be process requirements above and beyond those in ISO 12207 that need to be documented.

Contract preparation and update Before you can have a contract, you must have a supplier w ith whom to have the contract. With this in mind, the criteria to be used in selecting the supplier and the method by which the compliance by

Table D.2 Topics in a request for proposal document

Request for proposal - contents system requirements scope statement instructions for bidders list of software products control of sub-contracts technical constraints (e.g. the target environment)

potential suppliers with the criteria can he judged have to he set down. Once the preferred supplier has been selected, the final form of the contract between the supplier and acquirer can be negotiated. This often involves some adjustments to the way in which ISO 12207 is to be tailored.

Monitor supplier This w ill be done using some of the supporting processes listed in Table D.I, namely joint reviews, audit, verification and validation.

Accept completed contract When the supplier finally delivers the product, the acquirer will conduct acceptance tests and if the specified acceptance criteria are satisfied, the completed software can be signed-off as completed.

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