Technology Readiness Levels For Sustainable Software Products

in #softwarelast year

A self-assessment guide for TRL (Technology Readiness Level) as relevant to sustainable software development projects.

Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) are a type of measurement system used to assess the maturity level of a particular technology. Each technology project is evaluated against the parameters for each technology level and is then assigned a TRL rating based on the project's progress. There are nine technology readiness levels. TRL 1 is the lowest and TRL 9 is the highest.

TRL scale was first developed by NASA. Since then, TRL has been adapted by diverse industries with a different spin to it. The assessment of TRL depends on the specific use cases and required threshold for the performance and cost of the technology.

Establishment of the right metrics to measure the TRL for any solution is important from performance and cost perspective. We had a hard time in our own self-assessment of TRL applying the NASA scale (specific to aeronautics), given that we were doing it for a sustainable software solution. Here’s how we sorted out the problem.

Self-Assessment Of TRL For Software

We found the following TRL guidelines helpful explicitly for software development published by GridLAB-D:

Principle (TRL 1)
The basic requirements of the principle are described and the class stub created.

Concept (TRL 2)
The basic design elements of the class are described and the variables enumerated in the class.

Proof (TRL 3)
The methodology to be used has been proven on paper or numerically in other environments.

Standalone (TRL 4)
The class has been implemented and passed standalone methodological and functional validation tests.

Integrated (TRL 5)
The class has been tested in conjunction with other classes and passed integrated methodological and functional validation tests.

Demonstrated (TRL 6)
The class has been shown to produce correct results in simple exemplary situations.

Prototype (TRL 7)
The class has been shown to produce correct results in complex exemplary situations.

Qualified (TRL 8)
The class has been shown to produce correct results in realistic situations.

Proven (TRL 9)
The class has been used successfully in production-grade analysis work.
Since our software solution designed with sustainability as a primary consideration, we found the following additional sustainability-based TRL assessment framework handy:

Self Assessment Of TRL For Sustainability Tech

If the end goal is sustainability or social good, then the identification of key sustainability-related metrics becomes increasingly relevant as presented in the following reference:

Sustainability Integration In A Technology Readiness Assessment Framework. 21st International Conference On Engineering Design, ICED1721–25 August, 2017

This article is simultaneously posted in Medium


Didn't know there was TRL assessment customized for sustainability projects. Thanks for the information.

You are most welcome. :)

The original TRL scale from NASA is not very lacks clarity when applied to software development. Your post @sharonomics is quiet helpful. Thanks :)

You are welcome @biox. The ambiguity in TRL was the reason to undertake this investigation. I am glad you found the post helpful.
Cheers :)