Value‐Based Acquisition: An Objective, Success‐Centric, Evolutionary Approach
Roth, Rick Hayes
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Rather than dwell on well-documented information system acquisition issues, we analyze government success stories. We capture best practice in a suite of tools whose familiar look and feel will resonate with acquisition professionals. We demonstrate how those tools can enable rapid, evolutionary information system development. After all, government policies mandate acquiring information systems rapidly & adaptively. DoD in particular has taken a visionary approach that adopts cutting edge paradigms like Service Oriented Architecture and Open Technology Development. Despite overall slow progress, the government has succeeded impressively in some cases. Success stories include continuous technology refresh of deployed systems; government investment in some COTS markets; inserting true COTS as a quick fix; and consuming state-of-the art COTS hardware. Typical government acquisition behavior contrasts sharply with this best practice. Training and tools can solve that issue. Our strategy is to leverage the enduring value of traditional approaches, the lessons learned from success stories, and the innate innovative tendencies of the best employees. We apply the successful continuous re-capitalization model to govern incremental “development” through a suite of objective measures of effectiveness (MOE) and associated algorithms. These tools are based on the concept of “Quality of Service” but address the higher abstraction “Value of Service.” “Value” depends on reliability, speed-to-capability, utility, and cost. The algorithms reward modularity, interoperability, and currency. They include a profoundly new concept for government acquisition – that the front end requirements and procurement activity should be governed with process-level systems engineering MOE. The algorithms provide a framework to optimize choices around bundling options, intellectual property, test & certification, and billable hours. They provide an objective means to enforce policy, and a dashboard to monitor policy impact in near real time. We demonstrate the viability of value-based acquisition in a simple commercial use case, and in context with a real on-going military acquisition. Programs can, may, and should leverage the success of the best of their peers, and begin value-based acquisition immediately. The World Wide Consortium for the Grid (W2COG) Institute (WI) can assist. Government
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