The lack of comprehensive software obsolescence risk forecasting and assessment methodologies presents a challenge to managing overall system obsolescence risk. This is especially the case for systems with a high utilization of commercial electronic components or software applications with a long operational life. The extended length of a system's development can often result in obsolescence well before system production and fielding begin. Obsolescence affects individual electronic components and availability of materials, as well as access to experienced personnel, processes, and software. Multiple factors influence legacy application software obsolescence. Included in these factors are hardware obsolescence, increased software maintenance, commercial off-the-shelf software obsolescence, growth in technical debt, growth in complexity, and a lack of underlying logic or business rule documentation. These factors influence subjective management decisions in the remediation of current or future obsolescence risk. To date, multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM) in risk management is used to evaluate mitigation options. A MCDM risk assessment and timing methodology is proposed to evaluate the impact of multiple obsolescence elements over the life cycle of a software application with consideration for the knowledge, preference, and subjectivity of experts to better inform future mitigation and management strategies. The resulting MCDM risk value provides a breakpoint for a quantifiable increase in obsolescence risk.
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