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CMS IT eXpedited Life Cycle (XLC)


The XLC framework includes artifacts, templates and stage gate reviews intended to provide assistance and standard guidance to support consistent system development and project management methodology.  Alternate development methodologies/frameworks/guidelines are encouraged 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.

XLC Process Overview

The eXpedited Life Cycle (XLC) is CMS’ version of the IT system lifecycle, developed from HHS’ framework, and adapted to meet CMS specific needs.  The XLC has been designed as a methodology agnostic framework that can accommodate multiple approaches to software development as well as project management. We make information and resources available in the beginning stages of the projects lifecycle, and throughout, to help tailor the XLC framework to best align to your delivery approach.

CMS is committed to continually strengthening XLC processes, with a focus on responding to business demands with value-add and flexible approaches to managing IT projects.   Thus, CMS is transforming the way it operates to support the adoption of Agile values, principles, and practices.  These efforts are well underway and are having a positive impact on the CMS community, our systems and, most importantly, our customers.

What's New?

  • Agile Adoption/Support:  OIT has created the Center for Enterprise Agility (CEA) as a forum to provide training, support, and guidance to all programs and components that have already begun, or are working towards adopting Agile techniques.  CMS continues to assess and improve the XLC, test and pilot alternatives to certain artifacts and stage gate reviews, as well as enhance how to support technical governance in an Agile environment.  To learn more about CMS’s agile adoption efforts, click here.
  • Improved IT Intake Form:  You can find the new and improved IT Intake Form on SharePoint. It now includes instructions and links to resources, and more targeted questions that focus on the most relevant aspects of your specific project. Through the use of dynamic branching capabilities, users can elaborate on responses to questions that pertain to their projects and skips the ones that do not.  The new IT Intake Form also includes save functionality that allows users to return to, and view previously submitted forms.  In addition, SharePoint functionality permits new tracking and reporting capabilities that support future data-driven decision making.
  • Enhanced Support:  We have Group Service Representatives (GSRs) in attendance at every CIRT to provide fast prompt decisions, and direct contacts to assist you with OIT support and services.  Also, we have recently established an OIT Navigator role to provide OIT coordination and clarity to our customers in areas that may otherwise seem confusing or burdensome. Through this role we also seek to improve the overall support process and customer experience.
  • Enterprise Architecture:  We have placed an increased business-focus through Business Architecture consults in early stages of the lifecycle, customized for your project to deliver value. The EA team brings an enterprise perspective to assist with aligning business needs with strategies and potential solutions, to find opportunities for reuse and collaboration, and provide business and data architecture guidance.
  • Enhanced process clarity:  We are adding a new IT Development Checklist (currently under construction) and updated Project Process Agreement (PPA) designed to be more flexible, and tailored to fit alternative development methods to help you plan your project.
  • Technical Review Board:  The TRB is represented at each CIRT and available throughout the system lifecycle.  They now offer one-on-one consultations and component-specific liaisons to further assist with your project needs and ensure that your project aligns and meets all of the appropriate IT guidelines and standards.
  • Peace of Mind: Expert technical advice, support and guidance early in the project’s life cycle will help to avoid costly and time consuming issues down the road and allow for a significantly smoother and more transparent project. 

For additional OIT Resources and Information visit our XLC Assistance page.

For questions or assistance, please feel free to contact: