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Acquisition Principles

The US Digital Service Acquisition Principles for Digital Service Procurements

  1. Emphasize project missions and challenges to attract the best vendor talent. Great digital service providers are often motivated by the magnitude of the problems they can solve when they work for the government.

  2. Pay for results, not time. A working product is the ultimate metric of success.

  3. Don’t lock technical requirements into contracts so that new, more effective technologies and methods are not blocked.

  4. Buy design and software development services as a repeated process for the delivery of a working product. Technological enhancements never end.

  5. Determine how much of the budget to invest in finding the right solution. Only continue investing in the solution if value is demonstrated.

  6. Buy small, build small, test, and iterate. Set up each contract for a quick win, then determine how to scale that success or pivot quickly.

  7. Leverage the efficiency of commercial contracting methods. If and when possible, use services and tools sold by private sector vendors.

  8. Choose diverse teams that have demonstrated success in developing trust, accountability, and navigating cultural barriers. Evaluate demonstrated coding skills and quality of previous delivery expertise as an indicator for future performance.

  9. Get solutions into the hands of users quickly. Incorporate accessibility, security, and usability testing into the process to avoid bottlenecks.


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