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Concept of Operations (ConOps)
Summary Description: The Concept of Operations (ConOps) is a user-oriented document that describes the characteristics for a proposed automated system or an information technology (IT) situation (e.g., Enterprise Email System or Enterprise Data Center Initiative) from the viewpoint of any individual or organization who will use the proposed automated system orsituation in their daily work activities or who will operate or interact directly with the automated system or situation. The ConOps is used to communicate overall quantitative and qualitative system or situation characteristics to the Business Owner(s)/Partner(s), Users, System Developer(s), and other organizational elements (e.g., CMS Information Technology Investment Review Board (ITIRB), ExecutiveSteering Committee (ESC), and Office of Information Services (OIS)) to achieve understanding and buy-in. The ConOps is prepared in conjunction with the Business Case Analysis (BCA) to describe the user organization(s), mission(s), and organizational objectives for a proposed system or situation from an integrated systems point of view, whereas the BCA describes the proposed system or situationfrom an investment point of view. The ConOps provides an analysis that bridges the gap between the users' operational needs and visions and the System Developer's technical specifications, without becoming bogged down in detailed technical issues that shall be addressed during systems analysis activities. The ConOps also documents a system's characteristics and the users' operational needs in amanner that can be confirmed by the user without requiring any technical knowledge beyond that required to perform normal job functions. Through development of a ConOps, Business Owner(s)/Partner(s) may find that business process improvement together with systems modernization or new functionality development might be necessary to satisfy new business needs, as well as providing flexibility forsatisfying anticipated business drivers. The ConOps documents the users' desires, visions, and expectations without requiring the provision of quantified, testable specifications until later in the system life cycle. For example, the users could express in the ConOps their need for a "highly reliable" system, and their reasons for that need, without having to produce a testable reliability requirementat the same time. In this case, the users' need for "high reliability" might be stated in quantitative terms prior to issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP), or it might be quantified by the System Developer during requirements analysis and documented in the subsequent Requirements Document. The ConOps also provides a mechanism for users and Business Owner(s)/Partner(s) to express thoughts andconcerns on possible solution strategies and to record design constraints, the rationale for those constraints, and to indicate the range of acceptable solution strategies. Status: Conditionally Mandatory - All new or proposed "Major" IT investments/projects must prepare a Concept of Operations (ConOps) in conjunction with a Business Case Analysis (BCA) to support the CMS Information TechnologyInvestment Review Board (ITIRB) investment funding decision, while all new or proposed "Non-Major" IT investments/projects are encouraged to produce a ConOps in conjunction with a BCA as

an established best practice. In some cases, multiple ConOps documents may be necessary if the IT investment is comprised of more than one proposed automated system or situation. Timeframe: An initial version of theConcept of Operations (ConOps) is initiated and completed during the Business Case Analysis Phase, and may serve as input in conjunction with the Business Case Analysis (BCA) for the Investment Selection Review (ISR) that is performed at the end of the Business Case Analysis Phase. As the proposed automated system or situation evolves, the nature and details of the work to be done will become...
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