Milestone B

Milestone B

The Milestone B decision approves the program entry into the EMD Phase and to award contracts for EMD activities. Following the precedents for an Agile approach to documentation streamlining established during earlier milestone decisions, there should be few additional requirements for this decision review. Agile minded program managers should continuously socialize program changes with key stakeholders during the interim period between decision points. More frequent in-progress reviews and continuous coordination with stakeholders sets the stage for efficient decision reviews. The MDA should focus on the assessment of known risks and mitigations necessary to proceed with iterative design, development, integration, test, and deployment activities unique to Agile EMD activities. Given that incremental capability delivery begins in this phase, risk mitigation resolution is also prioritized incrementally. That is, while all known risks for the next iteration should be adequately mitigated, resource allocation to risk mitigation associated with later capability iterations may be prioritized lower or deferred pending outcomes of predecessor development activities. This includes technology, engineering, integration, manufacturing, sustainment, and cost risks. Similarly, capability requirements continue to be refined with greatest resolution on the near-term iterations.

Milestone B is normally the formal initiation of an acquisition program with the MDA’s approval of the Acquisition Program Baseline (APB). The APB is the agreement between the MDA and the Program Manager and his or her acquisition chain of command that will be used for tracking and reporting for the life of the program or program increment. The APB will include the affordability caps for unit production and sustainment costs. Affordability caps are established as fixed cost requirements equivalent to KPPs. The cost, schedule, and performance baselines in the APB should be at a high overarching program level to allow the flexibility to shift requirements within and across the releases.

At the milestone, the MDA will finalize the following, if not already completed:

  • Minimum essential capability and delivery quantities necessary to achieve an Initial Operational Capability (IOC) and a Full Operational Capability (FOC)
  • Planning and execution structure for managing the capability backlog, release, and deployment
  • The specific technical criteria for making deployment decisions.
  • Document decisions in an ADM

Agile Considerations

The Milestone B is another opportunity to reinforce the key principles with MDA and stakeholder organizations on tailoring the program structure and acquisition processes to enable Agile practices as outlined in the acquisition strategy. This includes the structure, oversight, and approval of releases with lower-level officials empowered to make timely decisions while providing leadership regular insight into program progress and issues.  Given the dynamic nature of Agile, a must be structured at a high enough level as to not restrict changes in scope and support iterative design and development of releases. Risks should be mitigated to an acceptable level to proceed within EMD through use of risk reduction development releases, ideally with multiple potential vendors involved. The TMRR phase should have provided ample opportunities for the government to get smart on Agile practices by understanding the unique environments to manage requirements, changes, metrics, government vs contractor roles and responsibilities, tailored processes, release execution, and competing priorities and incentives. While Milestone B is a formal commitment of resources, if the contractor(s) or program office fail to perform or demonstrate adequate progress, the commitment is limited to each or a group of releases. A key benefit of Agile development is to demonstrate working capability to users and other stakeholders on a regular basis. This offers the best insight into interim progress and shifts the emphasis from a document based review to a focus on capability maturity and delivery.

Tailored Information Required List

Similar to the tailored list for Milestone A, the PMO, in partnership with the MDA should heavily tailor the documents required to comply with statutory and regulatory requirements. A proposed tailored list of information required for Milestone B will be provided in a future update to ACQUIRE. See DoDI 5000.02, Table 2 for the complete list of required information.



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