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Agile Procurement Playbook

A guide on how to apply the principles of agile to procurement.

What is agile procurement?

Agile procurement is a procurement strategy that focuses on issuing contracts quickly as well as de-risking the overall product by ensuring that only the required services/features are being built in rapid iterations for the correct users.

As contracts increase in scope and size, the ability to quickly award those contracts diminishes greatly. Likewise, the smaller the scope of a contract, the faster it can be awarded. An agile procurement strategy favors breaking up large, monolithic contracts into smaller, well-defined components called modules. The modules are pieces of work that are required for the product's success, such as:

  • Conducting user research to ensure the right services are being built
  • Designing to ensure that the end user is at the center of all development
  • Engineering to build out any services that might be required

When an agency is starting a new initiative or modernizing an existing system, it's expected and normal to be unsure about the ideal order for awarding all of the module contracts. There are typically a few known tasks that'll be required (for example, starting to build out a basic cloud infrastructure, interviewing prospective users of the product) that can be the first sets of modular contracts awarded. While that work is underway, the agency stakeholders can build and maintain a product roadmap for the rest of the contracts needed to complete the product.