OMB issues guidance for incremental IT development


New guidance from the White House seeks to get agencies to break “bloated, multi-year” projects for information technology acquisitions into more manageable chunks that can be delivered quickly and for less money.

Lengthy acquisition and IT development efforts to deliver massive new systems over years lead to projects that wasted billions of dollars and arrived years behind schedule, Joe Jordan, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy administrator, and Steven VanRoekel, the federal chief information officer, said in a June 14 blog post. By the time some projects launched, technology was obsolete, the officials wrote.

The guidance is meant to show IT, acquisition, finance and program officials how to work together to break investments into pieces and seek solutions that can be delivered shortly after contract award, the blog post said. 

“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,” Jordan and VanRoekel said in the post. “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.”

The document outlines the factors that contracting officers, in support of IT managers, will need to consider when planning modular developments, such as how to ensure that there is competition in the process, how broad or specific the statements of work should be, and when to use fixed-price contracts or rely on contract types or agreements.



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