How to use this site
Each page in this pathway presents a wealth of curated knowledge from acquisition policies, guides, templates, training, reports, websites, case studies, and other resources. It also provides a framework for functional experts and practitioners across DoD to contribute to the collective knowledge base. This site aggregates official DoD policies, guides, references, and more.
DoD and Service policy is indicated by a BLUE vertical line.
Directly quoted material is preceeded with a link to the Reference Source.
Reference Source: DODI 5000.87 Section 3.2.d
Consistent with modern software development practices, the acquisition strategy and related program documentation will be tailored to what is needed to effectively manage the program.
Key elements of the acquisition strategy include, but are not limited to:
- Flexible and modular contract strategy that enables software development teams to rapidly design, develop, test, integrate, deploy, and support software capabilities.
Reference Source: GAO Agile Assessment Guide GAO-20-590G
An organization’s contracting process must be deliberate and well executed to support regular program delivery timelines. Contracting strategies, processes, and the culture should create a business environment that supports small, frequent releases and responds to change, taking into consideration programmatic risks and the scope and purpose of a program (e.g., whether it is a large weapon system or small web application). One technique to accomplish this is called Modular Contracting.
Reference Source: OUSD(A&S) Guidance
Modular contracting is the preferred approach for acquiring major software IT systems in accordance with 41 U.S.C. §2308 – Modular Contracting for Information Technology, and implemented by FAR Part 39.103, and may also be considered when acquiring non-major systems. It is intended to reduce program risk and to incentivize contractor performance while meeting the Government’s need for timely access to rapidly changing technology. When using modular contracting, an acquisition of a system of IT may be divided into several smaller acquisition increments that:
1. Are easier to manage individually than would be possible with one comprehensive acquisition
2. Address complex IT objectives incrementally in order to increase the likelihood of achieving workable systems or solutions for attainment of those objectives
3. Provide for delivery, implementation, and testing of workable systems or solutions in discrete increments, each of which comprises a system or solution that does not depend on any subsequent increment in order to perform its principal functions
4. Provide an opportunity for subsequent increments to take advantage of any evolution in technology or needs that occur during implementation and use of the earlier increments
5. Reduce risk of potential adverse consequences for the overall project by isolating and avoiding custom-designed system components.
Modular Contracting Strategy
Reference Source: OUSD(A&S) Guidance
When planning a modular contracting strategy, it is important to understand the program needs and objectives to identify the contract vehicles needed to support the mission. The collection of modular contracts should be expected to change and evolve throughout the development lifecycle, especially as scaling occurs and more development activities are added. For example, modular contracting solutions a program may need to acquire to support an Agile development effort could include, but are not limited to:
- Sustainment of existing legacy systems – until modernized or no longer needed
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) subscription needs – establish an accredited cloud-hosted foundational infrastructure layer for compatible platform environments (servers, network, storage, etc.)
- Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) subscription needs
- Cloud development and configuration – establish a cloud-based environment, and/or rehost or re-platform existing software applications in the environment
- DevSecOps – instantiation of a software delivery pipeline for continuous integration and continuous delivery
- Agile development team/s – software developers and designers to develop new or update existing solutions
- Subject matter experts – to enable the Government to efficiently design, secure, and scale its solution architecture including cloud enterprise architects, platform engineers, cybersecurity engineers, software engineers, DevSecOps engineers, Site Reliability Engineers (SREs), etc.
- Advisory and assistance (A&AS) support – program office support, Agile training, Agile coaching, etc.
- Microservice Solutions – independent software applications – compatible with PaaS/IaaS solution/s
- Cybersecurity – security vulnerability protection during software coding development
- Communication/collaboration tools – to address purchase, installation, configuration, and licensing costs of any software required to support the management, configuration control, and visibility of the work being performed.
Reference Source: Contracting Cone
The Contracting Cone presents the full spectrum of FAR and non-FAR based contracting solutions available for consideration.
Contracting Strategies to consider in developing a modular contracting solution include:
- Federal Supply Schedules (FAR Part 8.4): Services for development teams, microservices, collaboration tools, etc.
- Simplified Acquisition Procedures (FAR Part 13): Services for development teams, microservices, collaboration tools, etc.
- Commercial Items (FAR Part 12): Services for development teams, microservices, collaboration tools, etc.
- Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Contracts (FAR 16.5): Infrastructure, Platform, and DevSecOps “as-a-Service” solutions, services for development teams, microservices, collaboration tools, etc.
- Other Transactions (OTs): Development activities that meet the definition of “prototype project“ to demonstrate proof-of-concept solutions.
- FAR Part 39 Acquisition of Information Technology
- FAR Part 37 Service Contracting
- Contracting Considerations for Agile Solutions, OSD(A&S), Nov 2019
- Contracting for Agile Software Development in DOD, SEI
- TechFAR Contract Vehicles
- Digital Services Playbook
- Agile Contracts – PWS Template, GSA
- Agile Contracts – Task Order Template, GSA
- Contracting Subway Map
- Contracting Pricing Reference Guides
- DoDI 5010.44 Intellectual Property (IP) Acquisition and Licensing
- DAU Functional Gateway: Contracting
- DAU Functional Gateway: Contract Administration
- DAU Community of Practice: Commercial-Off-the-Shelf Products and Commercial Services
- DAU Community of Practice: Small Business