The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has been creating best practice guides since 2005 to support improved performance and outcomes of federal government programs.

These guides, developed in collaboration with experts, focus on areas such as cost estimating, schedule assessment, and technology readiness. They provide principles for GAO auditors to evaluate acquisition programs and are freely accessible online. The guides feature case studies to demonstrate the effectiveness of their recommended practices and aim to assist agencies in developing or enhancing policies and guidance for program management. Through an iterative and consultative process involving a committee of experts, GAO ensures that the guides reflect industry best practices and address the evolving needs of federal acquisition programs.


Key Points: 
GAO's best practice guides are crucial for federal organizations and industry to develop and maintain reliable project controls and management tools for government acquisition programs.

  • The guides cover various aspects such as cost estimation, schedule assessment, and technology readiness assessments, providing principles for GAO auditors to evaluate acquisition programs.
  • Collaboratively developed with experts from government, private sector, and academia, these guides aim to fill gaps in existing guidelines and offer standardized approaches for credible program cost estimates, project scheduling, and technology assessments.
  • The guides, including the Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide, Schedule Assessment Guide, Technology Readiness Assessment Guide, and forthcoming Agile Implementation Guide, offer valuable insights and best practices for managing federal acquisition programs effectively.
  • The guides are available online for free.

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