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Before We Get Started As stated earlier, the procurement of ITS is a challenging task. This guide should be consid- ered as a tool to be used to overcome this challenge. But before you begin using the guide, you should review the topics covered in the following sections: For more information on this Project planning subject, refer to the final report, The procurement process NCHRP Web-Only Systems engineering as it relates to contracting Document 85. Project Planning Before identifying appropriate procurement options (termed procurement planning in this guide) for your ITS project, you must first establish project feasibility and then consider com- mercial off-the-shelf (COTS) versus custom system development and outsourcing. These initial considerations (termed project planning in this guide) ensure that project stake- Project planning is further holders achieve consensus on the functional expectations and resource requirements of the explained in NCHRP Web-Only Document 85. acquisition in order to facilitate a successful project. These activities should be performed before the actual procurement of services or equipment and can roughly be divided into the two major categories of project planning and procurement planning (see Figure 2). Project Feasibility Stakeholders establish project feasibility by first agreeing on the project concept of opera- tions (how the project will be used). Institutional, financial, and temporal constraints should be considered. Based on the identified concept of operations, stakeholders develop a project scope, schedule, and cost estimations. Project feasibility is established once the project scope, schedule, and cost estimations have been validated and verified against available agency resources. Establishing project feasibility will help you answer the following questions: How much will the system cost and can you afford it? Do you have a reasonable schedule, or are your deadlines unrealistic? Do you have adequate personnel (both in numbers and skills) to manage and support the development? Does everyone share the same vision for the system? Is there universal agreement regarding the manner in which the system will be used? Once the project's feasibility has been established, you should consider the use of COTS prod- ucts (hardware and software). In addition, you should consider the possibility of outsourcing. 5