TLC Overview

TLC Banner

Note: The TLC framework provides assistance and standard guidance to support consistent system development and project management methodologies.  Alternate development methodologies/frameworks/guidelines may be acceptable, provided applicable federal legislative mandates (eg, FITARA and Clinger Cohen Act), and OMB/HHS policy are met.

Contractors must utilize a formal framework, methodology, and/or capability maturity model in support of CMS' IT development efforts, thereby enhancing the degree of predictability and optimization of processes used, and increasing reliability and sustainability in producing required outcomes.

Welcome to the Target Life Cycle!

TLC Overview

The TLC is CMS's new system development life cycle governance process that promotes business flexibility, and replaces point-in-time gate reviews with continuous evaluation and situational reviews governance. The TLC sets governance expectations for all stakeholders who are developing and maintaining IT solutions.  There are four (4) distinct phases: Initiate, Develop, Operate, and Retire.






  • Establish Requirements / User stories
  • Deploy to non-Production environment
  • Complete any integration testing
  • Complete TLC System Profile
  • Maintain availability and performance
  • Maintain accurate TLC System Profile
  • Store and maintain required documentation
  • Proactively inputting upcoming changes to the system profile

More information about the TLC is available in the CMS TLC Guidance Document (PDF). A video recording of the February 28, 2019 Tech Topics TLC and Navigator presentation is also available for viewing.

New business need or need a Life Cycle ID for an existing IT investment? Begin here:

(Internal CMS Link)


Helpful Links
Technical Review Board Slidedecks (ZIP)
Optional Project Management Templates (ZIP)
Investment Reporting Life Cycle (PDF)
Note: this document provides an overview of the major IT Capital Planning and Investment Control reporting requirements, but is not inclusive of all OMB-required artifacts. For reporting guidance tailored to your situation, contact


Training Links
CMS TLC Guidance Document (PDF)
TLC Overview (PPTX)
Feb 28, 2019 Tech Topics TLC and Navigator Video

For inquires about the Target Life Cycle, please contact CMS IT Governance at

Page Last Modified:
12/01/2020 12:14 PM