DAU, Contracting, Acquisition, Government

Within the Government, where there are acquisitions, there are contracts; where there are contracts, there are Contract Data Requirements Lists (CDRLs). CDRLs contain essential data, revised and reported throughout the lifecycle of a given procurement.

At 30 years old and nearly 80 pages in length, the official source, DoD 5010.12-M “Procedures for Acquisition Management and Technical Data,” reads more like a textbook than a helpful tool and provides a difficult resource for anyone looking for specific, easy-to-use information.

DAU launched a new and improved High-Level Contract Data Requirement List Planning Tool to provide an approachable guide with actionable steps for anyone needing help understanding the elements of CDRLs. By condensing complex and time-consuming processes with graphical depictions, this new tool provides easier-to-understand and useable content. For instance, one graphic showcases how to insert a Data Item Description into a Statement of Work.

The tool’s overall design tailors realistic work-order specs to proper positions in actual CDRL forms, while fostering critical thinking – so users can apply what they’ve learned to the next project without reliance on the same help. Additional capabilities provided by the new DAU tool include advice on entry monitoring, updating and distributing throughout weapons systems life cycles; guidance on conducting Data Requirements Review Boards; and detailed instruction on Intellectual Property and technical data for consistency and conformity.

Cross-Functional Tool

In seven steps, the CDRL Tool walks acquisition professionals through many tutorials. It’s also stocked with handy links to supplemental reference materials, continuously maintained over time.

DAU Professor of Program Management, Howard Harris, generated much of the tool’s content in 2018, when he first began using it in courses he teaches across three career fields – Logistics, Program Management and Acquisition.

“Anytime you deal with a procurement contract you need to understand CDRL,” Harris said.

In a pre-launch review of the current iteration, beta testers were asked to comment on the new CDRL Tool’s enhanced content and modern interface. The response from the diverse group of testers from several Services was overwhelmingly positive.

“I have gone through the new tool and very much like it – reminds me of the positive attributes of  the ARRT [Acquisition Requirements Roadmap Tool] for developing a PWS [performance work statement] and associated documents,” DAU Professor of Program Management Michael Fischetti said, echoing the sentiments of the test group. “I always struggled with pushing back on requirements owners to review the CDRLs, drop those not used and ensure that the data the government receives and is paying for is necessary to the requirement. This tool provides an easy-to-follow, automated process for accomplishing that. The tool also conveys the necessary roles and responsibilities of Acquisition team members in CDRL development.”

The CDRL Tool and many other helpful resources are available on DAU’s job support tool page.

This article was originally published by DAU.edu and recommended by the Central Florida Tech Grove.

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