Carnegie Mellon University

COTS Based Integration


CEU Units

# of Lectures

Hours per Week


John Robert





Course Objectives

The objective in this course is to identify the unique challenges of using COTS products in software intensive systems and to cover a range of topics and techniques to enable you to be successful when using COTS products in your system or project. The course will start (first three lectures) with an overview of COTS specific challenges concerning business, management and technical activities. After the initial overview we will dive into some specific topics that are particularly important including COTS evaluation, adoption, integration and risk management.

By the end of the course students will be able to:
  • Understand common definitions of COTS products
  • Understand the significant impact of COTS products on the system development and integration process
  • Understand what is needed to be successful with COTS



Required Textbooks (2)

  • "Secrets to a Successful Commercial Software (COTS) Implementation" by Nick Berg, ISBN-10: 0595444334
  • "Building Systems from Commercial Components" by Kurt Wallnau, Scott Hissam, Robert C. Seacord, ISBN-10: 0201700646
  • Not Required: "Making the Software Business Case: Improvement by the Numbers" by Donald J. Reifer, ISBN-10: 0201728877


Lecture 1:      Introduction to COTS Based Systems
Lecture 2:      COTS Activities - 1
Lecture 3:      COTS Activities - 2
Lecture 4:      COTS Evaluation - 1
Lecture 5:      COTS Evaluation - 2
Lecture 6:      COTS Adoption and Business Case
Lecture 7:      COTS Development Processes
Lecture 8:      COTS Integration Techniques
Lecture 9:      Black-Box Visibility
Lecture 10:    COTS Risk Management