Saturday, July 21, 2012
White House Issues New IT Contracting Guidance
Posted byon June 14, 2012 at 03:29 PM EDT
Last week, we highlighted a number of ways in which reform of Federal Information Technology Management is giving taxpayers more for their IT investments and improving the overall function and efficiency of government. Today, we mark yet another milestone in our march to improved fiscal and contractor accountability as we roll out Contracting Guidance to Support Modular IT Development.
For too long, Federal IT was marked by runaway information technology (IT) projects in Federal agencies that wasted billions of dollars and were years behind schedule. By the time some of these projects launched, if they launched at all, they were often over budget, late and/or obsolete. In many cases, these failures can be traced back to lengthy acquisition and IT development efforts that aimed to deliver massive new systems over years, rather than providing new functionality in an incremental manner – as the private sector does...
Today, we are releasing a new document, Contracting Guidance to Support Modular IT Development, which encourages agencies to shift away from the bloated, multi-year projects so common in the past to a more nimble approach. The guidance provides our IT, acquisition, finance, and program officials practices for how they can, working together as part of an integrated program management team, break investments into more manageable chunks; eliminate the costly lag between when the government defines its requirements and delivers solutions; and begin delivering workable solutions shortly after contract award. By requiring frequent deliverables, agencies will also be better able to hold contractors accountable for keeping projects on track and delivering solutions that truly meet agency needs. And by breaking investments into smaller chunks, agencies may be able to drive more competition – including small businesses that might not have been equipped to compete for the massive, multi-year projects of the past. And more competition means a better value for the American people.
Building on policies established in the Clinger-Cohen Act 15 years ago, the guidance lays out key investment principles to facilitate modular IT development. It then discusses acquisition strategies that are best suited to support the high level of responsiveness that agencies need for modular development. This includes the smart use of contracts where orders are placed as needs arise with short time periods to fulfill specific project development needs within 6 month intervals, as well as rapid response activities in 90 day periods. Equally important, the guidance highlights several case studies from agencies that already are achieving success with modular development and modular contracting.
Posted by Jeff Sutherland at 9:50 AM