The Administration has just announced plans to release guidance on modular contracting as a way of re-directing acquisition officials to find ways for dealing with the fast-paced world of rapidly changing technologies.
Many existing government processes cover a lengthy sequence from planning to budget preparation to procurement. Therefore the current approach favors large projects. Too many IT programs span several years beyond what is now accepted as best commercial practice. The Office of Management and Budget recommends that programs last no more than eighteen months to two years. This is in contrast with major IT programs now taking from ten to thirty years.
The only way to increase the segmentation of systems into smaller components is to shift development efforts to cloud computing based on the separation of data, of information processing and of applications. In such approach, much of the time consuming effort to build infrastructures would be eliminated through the virtualization of computing services to support a multiple of projects simultaneously.
In the IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) and particularly in the PaaS (Platform as a Service) developers will be able to start concentrating efforts on creating small-scale modular application components that will fit a shared enterprise infrastructure. If such components are constructed according to standard rules and if they offer uniform APIs (Application Program Interfaces), the total elapsed time for delivering new applications would be materially shortened to weeks instead of months or years. Such approach would be in compliance with the most recent memorandum from the Executive Office of the President.