The marketplace drives COTS product definition, application, and evolution. COTS products presume a flexible architecture and often depend on product releases that are designed to be used “as is” to meet general business needs and not specific organization’s needs. The commercial product life cycle is usually much shorter than the equivalent software development life cycle.

Projects should consider the potential availability of suitable replacement and/or alternative items throughout the long, military life cycle, and should monitor the commercial marketplace through market research activities and ongoing alignment of business and technical processes. This necessary activity imposes an additional cost, schedule, and performance risks for which the acquisition community should plan. COTS products should be evaluated to meet all performance and reliability requirements during all environmental conditions and service life requirements specified by the intended application requirements documents.

A Project Manager and development staff will still have to go thru the normal test and evaluation process to verify that a COTS product can still meet the requirements of the overall system.  Just because a COTS solution is preferred,  in some cases it will not meet the intended goals of the system.

The primary concern areas of using COTS are:

    • Is the COTS component durable enough to meet service life requirements
    • Are there proprietary components in the COTS products
    • Lack of vendor willingness to provide all design specifications due to intellectual property theft concerns.
    • Types of the licensing agreements
    • Can enough COTS products be supplied for sustainment
    • How difficult is it to find replaceable parks for the COTS product
    • Are there enough qualified vendors for the COTS product
    • Does the COTS product require modifications and how much

Entrance Criteria:


Exit Criteria:


Process and Procedures:

  • Coordinate and Collaborate with Relevant Stakeholders
  • Align Measurement and Analysis Activities
  • Establish Estimates
  • Develop a Project Plan
  • Perform Project Plan Peer Review
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Tailoring Guidelines:

  • None

Process Verification Record(s)

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