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US DoD software development data now available

I found a huge resource of software development data last weekend at the Defense Cost and Resource Center (DCARC). The Software Resource Data Report part of this resource contains information on around 2,000 major software development projects (any US DOD project over $20 million+) giving details of schedule, developer experience, money spent per year, lines of code, amount of code change, hours spent on at various stages of development and a whole lot more.

The catch? The raw data is only available to DoD analysts :-( I was a bit surprised that laws got passed mandating the collection of this kind of information and a lot less surprised that the DoD don’t want to make detailed development information for missile systems, radar installations, etc available to some interested parties; those of us who are not going to go out and build such systems are collateral damage.

What is the US government’s reason for requiring the collection and dissemination of this information? They want to reduce the huge amount of money currently being spent on the software development component of military systems (often a very large slice of the total project costs). Will having this data available reduce costs? It will certainly get project managers a lot more worried about project cost/time overruns if they know that lots of people outside the project are going to see their ‘failure’.

Hopefully there are Open data activists in the US who will push for a redacted form of the software data being made available to all interested parties, rather like that provided by the USA Spending site. In the meantime there are a few lucky DoD analysts who have gone from famine to feast and are probably having trouble figuring out where to start.

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