DevOps for Federal Acquisition

January 2018
Rick Cagle, The MITRE Corporation
Michael J. Kristan, The MITRE Corporation
Tim Rice, The MITRE Corporation
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Federal acquisitions are principally grounded in a traditional system development model with divisions of labor among development, independent test, and operations organizations. These silos are reinforced by the structure of current acquisition artifacts such as standard Contract Data Requirements List (CDRL) items and Data Item Definitions (DIDs). By contrast, in a DevOps ecosystem, development, test, and operations simply share responsibility for delivery of functioning services or products. Just as the movement toward a more Agile Development model within Federal acquisitions continues to struggle with adapting CDRL and DID artifacts, we anticipate programs seeking to inject DevOps approaches and proficiencies will have analogous challenges. DevOps will continue to mature as a systems concept, and the government will be looking to adopt and adapt DevOps. This paper explores initial concepts of how a Request for Proposal (RFP) may be constructed to procure a system with DevOps principles, and proposes corresponding tailoring of acquisition artifacts.

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