8 ways to align acquisition to IT's pace

The Obama administration is pushing agencies to sculpt their projects into smaller chunks of work to match the fast-paced world of IT.

The Office of Management and Budget issued a guide June 14 on ways to do modular contracting. The document provides tips on how to set up modular contracts when buying IT specifically.

OMB asked all agencies to assess their capital planning and investment controls, as they change to shorter, leaner projects. OMB also wants agencies to adjust their acquisition processes to incorporate the modular approaches.

To do that, OMB included a checklist of recommendations for agencies to align their acquisition practices to modular contracting for IT. For example:

  • Structure contracts to match agency officials' schedule for responding to a project.
  • Describe work so contractors can offer their best solutions, and agencies can take advantage of companies’ expertise and innovations.
  • Set a payment schedule that incentivizes contractors to give the best value for the project.
  • Use competition on contracts and task orders to generate alternative solutions from which agency officials can choose the best option.
  • Protect the government with contract terms and conditions, including provisions on data rights.
  • Opt to use an existing contract before starting a new one.
  • Consider structuring a new contract, if there are no other options, so other agencies can use it too.
  • Think small business.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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Reader comments

Mon, Jun 18, 2012 SPMayor Summit Point, WV

OMB has done a good job of 'consolidating' a lot of the material available on modular contracting. But, this isn't new stuff - to some of us yet it is for others. I am struck by the knowledge gap [which we all acknowledge and that has been written about] that exists between those of us who were actively involved in IT acquisitions in the 90's and today's workforce. The guidance, for me, was a way of operating that was second nature to me; to see it restated with some spit & polish makes me realize how far we have drifted. We have gone from 'can do' to 'can I do', from getting it done to wondering how to get it done. I don't think we need new statutes, new regulations or more memorandum. We need focus on using what we know to do what we can as well as we can.

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