Project technology

Is the technology of your project up to the task? GAO publishes draft technology readiness assessment guide


WASHINGTON, DC (August 11, 2016) – The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) today released for public review a draft of a new guide to help federal, state and local government agencies assess in a meaningful way more reliable technological readiness for projects of all sizes. The Technology Readiness Assessment Guide: Best Practices for Assessing Technology Readiness for Use in Procurement Programs and Projects (GAO-16-410G) is available online and applies to civil and defense projects managed by government entities and private contractors. The draft guide is posted for a one-year comment period.

“Managing technology maturity in today’s increasingly complex and technology-driven systems is a critical tool in reducing risks associated with program acquisition and management,” said Gene Dodaro , Comptroller General of the United States and Head of GAO. “The best practices presented in the GAO guide should help agencies better manage critical technologies and associated costs that are often a major source of risk in acquiring advanced systems and projects.”

Building on the concepts of technological readiness assessment (TRA) originally developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Department of Defense (DOD) and others, the draft guide to GAO describes seven best practices for developing and producing reliable, high-quality TRA. The aim is to help TRA practitioners, program managers, technology developers and governance bodies better understand technology readiness, conduct credible assessments of technology readiness, and develop plans for technology maturation efforts.

A companion to GAO’s Cost Estimating and Schedule Assessment Guides, the TRA Guide Project is designed to help government agencies develop, manage, and review capital acquisition programs. The guide is also intended for use by GAO auditors to assess government programs that rely heavily on advanced technology. GAO plans to use the guide to verify the credibility of agencies’ critical technology maturity assessments as part of their major procurement programs.

“GAO has worked with experts from government agencies, private industry, nonprofit associations, and universities to develop and formalize TRA best practices,” said Timothy Persons, GAO Chief Scientist, who led this effort with Michael Sullivan, GAO’s director of acquisition and procurement. Management.

“With these criteria, program managers and technology developers will be better equipped to assess technology maturity, measure progress, and identify and manage risks in today’s advanced systems acquisition and technology development environment.” ‘hui,’ noted Persons. “Government auditors will also be better able to assess agency decisions regarding technology readiness.”

“Since the late 1990s, when GAO began to study the link between technological maturity and the results of programs such as the Joint Strike Fighter, DOD and other agencies have come to recognize technological maturity as a reliable indicator of program results, ”Sullivan said. “Technology readiness assessments don’t need to be relegated to ‘performance tickets’, but can be used to manage successful technology development. The GAO guide represents a real leap forward: a unique and comprehensive framework for understanding and using technological readiness, from invention to product development. “

The draft guide outlines a multi-step process for developing high-quality TRA, explains how the results can be used, and presents case studies from audits published by GAO that illustrate typical pitfalls of developing technologies for technology. integration into larger systems. The guide also provides best practice checklists for program managers and evaluators to use for each of the seven best practices, such as the selection and assessment of critical technologies, and includes technical appendices.

For more information, contact Chuck Young, General Manager of Public Affairs, at 202-512-4800.


The Government Accountability Office, known as the investigative body of Congress, is an independent, non-partisan agency that exists to help Congress fulfill its constitutional responsibilities. GAO also strives to improve the performance of the federal government and ensure its accountability to the American people. The agency reviews the use of public funds; evaluates federal programs and policies; and provides analysis, recommendations and other forms of assistance to help Congress make informed decisions on oversight, policy and funding. GAO provides Congress with timely, objective, factual, non-ideological, fair and balanced information. GAO’s commitment to good government is reflected in its core values ​​of responsibility, integrity and reliability.

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