Develop alternative solutions and selection criteria.




Alternative solutions should be identified and analyzed to enable the selection of a balanced solution across the life of the product in terms of cost, schedule, performance, and risk. These solutions are based on proposed product architectures that address critical product quality attribute requirements and span a design space of feasible solutions. Specific practices associated with the Develop the Design specific goal provide more information on developing potential product architectures that can be incorporated into alternative solutions for the product.

Alternative solutions frequently encompass alternative requirement allocations to different product components. These alternative solutions can also include the use of COTS or SaaS solutions in the product architecture. Processes associated with the Requirements Development process area would then be employed to provide a more complete and robust provisional allocation of requirements to the alternative solutions.

Alternative solutions span the acceptable range of cost, schedule, and performance. The product component requirements are received and used along with design issues, constraints, and criteria to develop the alternative solutions. Selection criteria would typically address costs (e.g., time, people, money), benefits (e.g., product performance, capability, effectiveness), and risks (e.g., technical, cost, schedule). Considerations for alternative solutions and selection criteria include the following:

    • Cost of development, manufacturing, procurement, maintenance, and support
    • Achievement of key quality attribute requirements, such as product timeliness, safety, reliability, and maintainability
    • Complexity of the product component and product related lifecycle processes
    • Robustness to product operating and use conditions, operating modes, environments, and variations in product related lifecycle processes
    • Product expansion and growth
    • Technology limitations
    • Sensitivity to construction methods and materials
    • Risk
    • Evolution of requirements and technology
    • Disposal
    • Capabilities and limitations of end users and operators
    • Characteristics of COTS or SaaS products

The considerations listed here are a basic set; organizations should develop screening criteria to narrow down the list of alternatives that are consistent with their business objectives. Product lifecycle cost, while being a desirable parameter to minimize, can be outside the control of development  organizations. A customer may not be willing to pay for features that cost more in the short term but ultimately decrease cost over the life of the product. In such cases, customers should at least be advised of any potential for reducing lifecycle costs. The criteria used to select final solutions should provide a balanced approach to costs, benefits, and risks.







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