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Based on numerous interviews, conversations, and previous feedback we have have created this list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).


Where do I go for help if I don't understand how to do something such as complete a form, prepare for a Board, or understand what is being asked of me?

When your project gets officially started in XLC, there will be a Guidance Officer (GO) assigned to you. This is currently an informal role, led by a CMS colleague who understands the process, and can help you successfully navigate the process.


How does the CMS XLC define “Information Technology (IT) Project”?

An XLC IT project is defined as a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique information technology product, service, or result (e.g., an automated system). An XLC IT project should have specific starting and ending dates, well-defined objectives and constraints, established responsibilities, and a budget and schedule. An XLC IT project may be self-contained or may be part of a larger project. An XLC IT project further refers to a project that uses, collects, manipulates, transfers, stores, or automates information. To determine if a project is considered an XLC IT project, there are four main questions to answer:

  1. Does the project require the collection or receipt of data, or the storage of data in a database? 
  2. Does the project generate data that is used by another system or entity, or that is made available to people through the Internet? 
  3. Does any part of the project involve automating all or part of a process, or improving all or part of a process by moving to newer technology? 
  4. Does the project take raw data and turn it into information for analysis or decision-making? 

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then the project is considered an XLC IT project and is subject to the CMS XLC Framework.

Where do I start?

If you have a project that you think is a candidate for the CMS software life cycle process, go here.

I’ve already started my project and am somewhere in the middle of the XLC, do I still need to do a Project Process Agreement (PPA)?

Yes, you need to do a PPA and you’ve got a great head start because you know more about your project. Completing the PPA may identify something you’ve overlooked while you still have time to recover relatively painlessly. If you’ve accounted for everything, the PPA provides objective confirmation you are on the right track.

I’ve already started my project using the ILC, do I have to convert to the XLC?

No, not at all.  Since you’ve already started and have a Project Process Agreement (PPA), that PPA continues to be your guide.

Is there a way to avoid duplicating the same information on multiple documents?  When is it acceptable to just cut and paste material?

We are working on some tools and shortcuts that can help cut down on re-entering information. For now, there is some duplication, but we are aware of it, and working on it.

What if I have a legislative mandate/hot topic - do I still need to go through this process OR does everyone need to follow this process?

The XLC is required for all CMS IT investments and programs, and applies to IT projects of all sizes and complexities.