Raines' Rules

In October 1996, Franklin Raines, then director of the Office of Management and Budget, issued a memo with the subject line "Funding Information Systems Investments." The memo was quickly renamed Raines' Rules and became a seminal document for guiding how agencies purchase information technology.

The rules issued guidance for complying with the Information Technology Management Reform Act, which eventually became part of the Clinger-Cohen Act, and set the

criteria for evaluating major information system investments. Following are the rules as

outlined in Raines' memo.

Agencies' systems should:

1. Support core/priority mission functions that must be performed by the federal government.

2. Be undertaken because no alternative private-sector or governmental source can efficiently support the function.

3. Support work processes that have been simplified or redesigned to reduce costs, improve effectiveness and

maximize use of commercial off-the-shelf technology.

4. Demonstrate a projected return on investment that is equal to or better than alternative uses of available resources.

5. Be consistent with federal, agency and bureau information architecture, which integrates agency work processes and information flow with technology to achieve the agency's strategic goals...and specify standards that enable information exchange and resource sharing, while retaining flexibility in the choice of suppliers and in the design of local work processes.

6. Reduce risk by avoiding or isolating custom-designed components; using fully tested pilots, simulations and prototypes; establishing clear measures and accountability for project progress; and securing substantial involvement from program officials who use the system.

7. Be implemented in phases as narrow in scope and brief in duration as possible, each of which solves a specific part of an overall mission problem and delivers an independent, measurable net benefit.

8. Employ an acquisition strategy that appropriately allocates risk between government and the contractor, effectively uses competition, ties contract payments to accomplishments and takes maximum advantage of commercial technology.

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