May 29, 2022

Audio: National Archives (NARA) Gets Ready to Taste First Fruits of TechStat Labor

From FederalNewsRadio:

The National Records and Archives Administration will get its first chance this summer to really see how its new approach to modifying the Electronic Records Archive system is working.

Mike Wash, the NARA chief information officer, said ERA’s contractor, IBM, will deliver the first of several changes to the system based on a Technical Direction Letter (TDL).


“We are giving smaller, more defined packages for the vendor in case we need to change ERA based on the market or bugs or problems,” said Scott Stovall, ERA program director. “Under the operations and maintenance contract, IBM quotes back a firm fixed price contract based on the requirements we outline in the letter. We are able to move forward to adapt and correct by narrowly defining the scope in a short manageable delivery schedule.”

Stovall said NARA sent two TDLs to IBM and is developing two others.


In some ways, NARA used ERA as a test case for how it will manage projects in the future. The agency now is applying similar changes, which also included changing from a systems integrator model to a task order approach, across many of their programs.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.