DITAP in a Nutshell
Since 2015, the federal government has acknowledged that the traditional method of buying technology and digital services cannot keep up with the rapid pace of change and evolving consumer demands. Technology products and services are developed using highly flexible and iterative methodologies. In addition, the world around us has converted to a “digital native” mindset. Federal technology procurement practices were not aligned with the evolving industry and market environment. The impact was significant. According to the Standish Group, only 13% of large government IT projects were successful, i.e., the rest were over budget, late, not useful, or canceled. The Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) and the United States Digital Service (USDS) created the Digital IT Acquisition Professional (DITAP) professional development program to help address this problem.
What is DITAP?
DITAP is a cohort-based program designed to teach federal acquisition and contracting professionals the technical and soft skills they need to successfully design and execute innovative and flexible procurements for IT and digital services. In addition, DITAP focuses on how to become change ambassadors within an agency to be at the forefront of exciting new federal procurement trends.
Traditional government procurement practices used in digital acquisitions typically use a waterfall method of software development. The DITAP Program helps contracting professionals use new and existing regulatory flexibilities to implement innovative digital acquisitions using human-centered design, lean principles, and other Agile iterative methodologies.
Participants can expect an immersive professional development journey comprised of self-directed, guided, and applied learning, classroom instruction, case studies, shadowing, guest speakers, and hands-on skills building through a live digital assignment group project. Federal workforce members who participate in DITAP will be able to:
- Execute digital service procurements and act as qualified business advisors
- Work directly within an agency digital services team or acquisition innovation lab to serve as a business advisor to the team, its customers, and its stakeholders
- Lead agency training workshops and consult on ways to expand digital service procurement expertise throughout the federal government
Starting in FY 2022, contracting personnel assigned to digital services acquisitions over $7 million (or $13 million for acquisitions described in FAR Part 13.500(c)) are required to obtain their Federal Acquisition Certification in Contracting Core-Plus Specialization in Digital Services (FAC-C-DS) prior to assignment. Candidates who are FAC-C Level II or III certified can earn their FAC-C-DS specialization by successfully completing the DITAP Program.
Why Take DITAP?
Marc Andreessen famously said, “software is eating the world.” Government is not immune from this trend. It is critical to build skillsets to ensure that the government can take advantage of evolving technology to better serve its citizens. DITAP participants will improve their ability to:
- Describe digital services in the 21st century, including what they are, who provides them, how they are delivered, and why they are important
- Determine the problem to be solved while effectively supporting and communicating with their customer and industry
- Effectively use techniques for acquiring digital service solutions in their solicitation or acquisition strategy
- Evaluate vendors who deliver digital services using instantaneous, objective metrics on project health, developed via appropriately applied lean thinking and Agile development methods while experimenting with flexible contract design and administration strategies
- Apply techniques to create a culture of innovation within their sphere that enables them and others to effectively lead and influence customers to the best solutions.
There is a diverse, highly capable group of DITAP alumni in the government already. DITAP alums have gone on to become government executives, have executed the most innovative and effective digital services procurements, and continue to push the envelope with what is possible in government tech procurement. Future DITAP participants will join this growing group and have the opportunity to implement true culture change in the government while being a part of innovative procurements.
The DITAP Professional Development Program at Management Concepts
The DITAP Program provides motivated, trailblazing acquisition professionals with the knowledge and skills they need to transform their agency’s digital acquisitions and earn the FAC-C-DS specialization. Management Concepts enhances this powerful content with expert instructors and coaches. We deliver technical knowledge and enhanced soft skills by blending expert instruction, self-study, and innovative shadowing opportunities that help participants see digital procurement through the eyes of their customers and users. Engagement activities let participants network with other contracting professionals during a Live Digital Assignment (LDA) and periodic assessments along the way to support knowledge retention. With nearly 50 years of experience in educating acquisition and contracting professionals, Management Concepts is your preferred professional development provider. Applications for the fall open enrollment DITAP Cohort are being accepted now. Visit ManagementConcepts.com/DITAP to learn more.
Eric Bubar is the Product Management Director for Acquisition & Contracting at Management Concepts and president and owner of Double Tree Consulting, LLC. He is a consultant and subject matter expert with over ten years of experience with government agencies and private sector clients. Eric’s expertise lies in IT acquisitions and implementation, product strategy development, business process design, and training. He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Virginia Tech and a PMP and FAC-C Level III certification.