Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University
Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University

Staff Profile

William E. Novak

William E. Novak

Senior Member of Engineering Staff

Key Responsibilities

Support and improve the acquisition, engineering, and sustainment of software-reliant systems by working with acquisition Program Offices to assist and advise on software acquisition issues. Conduct research into current software acquisition issues, with a focus on the governance, incentives, and dynamic organizational behaviors of software-reliant acquisition programs. Provide education to the broader software acquisition community on both the technical and organizational aspects of conducting software-reliant acquisition programs. 

Areas of expertise: lifecycle technical support (acquisition, procurement, sustainment, replacement); defense acquisition; independent technical assessments; enterprise IT; systems thinking; system dynamics; agent-based modelling (ABM); product marketing;


Professional Background

Mr. Novak has over 30 years of experience with real-time embedded software product development, government software acquisition, and business management in defense contracting, commercial, and small company environments. Mr. Novak has held positions with GE Aerospace including Chief Engineer for GE Military and Data Systems Operation and Senior Software Engineer at GE Strategic Systems Division. He has also served as Development Tools Product Manager for Texas Instruments Digital Signal Processing Division, and held the position of Director of C/C++ Products for C and C++ language cross-development systems, and product manager for embedded Ada cross-development systems at Tartan, Inc. Mr. Novak has previously served as an Industry Resident Affiliate to the SEI, participating in the Domain Analysis for Software Reuse project.

Publications (recent or significant)

  • Novak, W. E. (2014). Acquisition Archetypes: The Hidden Laws of Software-Intensive Development Programs. CrossTalk, the Journal of Defense Software Engineering, May-June
  • Moore, A. P., & Novak, W. E. (2014). The Rise and Fall of Joint Programs. Proceedings of the 11th Annual AFCEA Acquisition Research Symposium. Monterey, CA. 
  • Moore, A. P., & Novak, W. E. (2013). Understanding the Drivers Behind Software Acquisition Program Performance: Enabling Mission Success through Improved Software Decision-making. Proceedings of the Software Technology Conference. Salt Lake City, UT.
  •  Moore, A. P., & Novak, W. E. (2013). The Joint Program Dilemma; Analyzing the Pervasive Role that Social Dilemmas Play in Undermining Acquisition Success. Proceedings of the 10th Annual Naval Postgraduate School Acquisition Research Symposium. Monterey, CA. Retrieved from o
  • Moore, A. P., & Novak, W. E. (2013). Modeling the Evolution of a Science Project in Software-Reliant System Acquisition Programs. Conference of the Systems Dynamics Society. Boston, MA. Retrieved from
  • Novak, W. E., & Levinson, H. L. (2012). The Effects of Incentives in Acquisition Competition on Program Outcomes. Proceedings of the Defense Acquisition University Acquisition Research Symposium. Ft. Belvoir, VA. Retrieved from
  • Moore, A. P., & Novak, W. E. (2012). The Evolution of a Science Project: A Preliminary System Dynamics Model of a Recurring Software-Reliant Acquisition Behavior. Technical Report, Software Engineering Institute, Pittsburgh, PA. Retrieved from
  • Novak, W. E., & Levine, L. (2010). Success in Acquisition: Using Archetypes to Beat the Odds. Technical Report, Software Engineering Institute, Pittsburgh, PA. Retrieved from
  • Novak, W., Levine, L., & Marz, T. (2009). Conducting Independent Technical Assessments: Guidelines for Team Members. Special Report, Software Engineering Institute, Pittsburgh, PA.
  • "Software Acquisition Planning Guidelines", Edited by William E. Novak, Contributors: Julie B. Cohen, Anthony J. Lattanze, Linda Levine, William E. Novak, Patrick R. H. Place, Ray C. Williams, and Carol Woody, Software Engineering Institute Handbook CMU/SEI-2005-HB-006, December 2005. Retrieved from
  • "Domain Analysis Bibliography, A", Software Engineering Institute Special Report CMU/SEI-90-SR-003 J. Hess, S. Cohen, B. Holibaugh, K. Kyang, A.S. Peterson, W. Novak, P. Carroll
  • "Feature-Oriented Domain Analysis (FODA) Feasibility Study" Software Engineering Institute Technical Report CMU/SEI-90-TR-021 K. Kyang, S. Cohen, J. Hess, W. Novak, A.S. Peterson