This document is intended to be a resource for agencies planning to submit Initial Project Proposals to the Technology Modernization Board (Board). The categories and questions listed below are intended to be a supplement to Appendix B of the Guidance: Relevant Considerations in Preparing an Initial Project Proposal. The additional considerations below are neither an exhaustive list of all concerns the Board will weigh when considering whether or not to recommend funding for a project, nor will all considerations be applicable to all agency project proposals. Rather, agencies are encouraged to review the material below to become familiar with the types of questions and concerns the Board is most likely to raise.
- Mission effectiveness. How does this project enhance mission effectiveness and flexibility?
- Burden Reduction. How does this project reduce a time-consuming administration distraction to allow more time for mission goals?
- Public benefit. How will this project improve quality of life for the American public?
- User benefit. How will this project improve usability of systems for government or non-government users?
- Public approval. How does this project tackle an area of government delivery that has been under scrutiny and/or provide a new accountability tool to bolster trust in government?
Security and Risks
- Cybersecurity. How does this project reduce the agencies’ cyber risk?
- Past incidents. Does the project have incident details that the agency can provide to show the need for modernization?
- Relative patch time. How does this project improve the posture of unsupported and/or unpatchable hardware or software relative to similar systems?
- Tertiary risks. How does the system related to this project currently rely on or have many technological dependencies that would affect the agency significantly if it failed?
- Breadth of risk. Would the agency’s mission or other agencies’ missions be significantly impacted if the current system failed or was interrupted?
- Technological audits. Does the project have third party audits or (non-scan) penetration tests that can highlight the need for modernization?
- Obsolescing skills. Does the project upgrade or replace hardware or software that relies on workforce with skillsets that are becoming less common?
- Demonstrated success. Has this team demonstrated success in a similar modernization project in the past? Has a similar project been demonstrated to succeed in the past?
- Proximity to leadership. Does this project have access to and approval by agency leadership? Will project leads and team members be full time on the project?
- Technical experts identified. Have technical experts been identified to develop the project, including documentation that supports expertise: resumes, technical history, etc?
- Subject matter experts identified. Have subject matter experts been identified to develop the project, including documentation that supports expertise: resumes, subject matter project history, etc?
- Users identified and available. Have users been identified and are they readily available for iterative user testing in the development of this project?
- Maintainers identified. Have technical experts and training been identified and included in this project scope to ensure the agency can use and continue to update the product as needed?
Project Strategy Strength
- Readiness. When are all of the identified team members and tools ready to start execution on the project plan?
- Product Management Approach. How does this project support the agency’s overall product management approach? Projects should demonstrate product orientation, including context of the project using an overall strategy and service design approach.
- Iterative project plan. Is the project plan agile and iterative with short sprints and opportunities for adjusting priorities based on feedback and experience? If executing a procurement, has an experienced Contracting Officer and Contracting Officer Representatives been identified and is the appropriate acquisition strategy prepared?
- IT Portfolio fit. How does the project enhance or fit into the ongoing IT modernization strategies at the agency or agencies?
- Governance. Is program governance in place? Are they prepared to support the project and make timely decisions?
- Savings potential. Will this project reduce operations and maintenance (O&M) costs due to efficiencies gained by moving to modern architectures and skillsets?
- Demonstrated savings. Has an agency performed a similar project which resulted in cost savings?
- Savings accrual. How long will it take for this IT modernization investment to return savings or realize other quantifiable value?
- Lasting financial impact. Will this project produce long-term savings for the agency or agencies using it?
- Sinking market value. Would this project upgrade or replace a system that currently does not reflect market price reductions?
- Time critical. How would this project significantly benefit from being executed now instead of a year from now?
- Market flexibility. How does this project reduce vendor lock-in (including services and tools)?
- Government-wide added value. How does the project help move technology from a smaller more expensive market to a larger less expensive market?
- Business Process Changes. What business process changes are needed? Are those changes planned out? What happens if process changes are not implemented and what is the risk?
- Change Management. What is the agency change management strategy, particularly if the proposed project affects a large number of customers (internal and external), and how they currently conduct business?
- Reuse. Is the technology that is being upgraded or replaced widely used across government? Is there a code sharing or open source provision identified in the project plan?
- Cross-Agency technology. Will two or more agencies collaborate to create a shared solution for a common problem or cross agency mission area? How many agencies have interest or an equity in this solution? If this is a cross-agency project, has there been reconciliation of data (such as definitions, taxonomy)?
- Shared tools. Will this project use, support, or enhance a current common technology solution between agencies?
- Issues with Statute or Policy: Is project success dependent upon statutory or regulatory changes?