Table of Contents | Appendix C-3 | Appendix C-5



The Feasibility Study describes the information management or business requirement or opportunity in clear, technology-independent terms on which all affected organizations can agree. An information management requirement or opportunity can be prompted by such factors as new legislation, changes to regulations, or the growth of a program beyond the support capability of existing systems.

The Feasibility Study provides an overview of a complex business requirement or opportunity and determines if feasible solutions exist before full life-cycle resources are committed. The requirement or opportunity is assessed in terms of technical, economic, and operational feasibility. The study contains decision criteria, comparisons of general solution possibilities, and a proposed program (solution). The study is conducted any time a broad analysis is desired before commitment of development resources. Before conducting the study, the following key decisions should be addressed:

•      What are the specific requirement or opportunity and the responsible organization(s)?
       Provide an initial recognition of the requirement or opportunity and establish the broad
       objectives of the remainder of the life cycle. This decision addresses characteristics of the
       requirement or opportunity, such as programmatic or other causes and symptoms of the
       requirement or opportunity, affected organizations, types of information needed, high-level
       information processing capabilities, an initial perception of the ability of current systems
       and procedures to address the requirement or opportunity, and the timeframe(s) within
       which the requirement or opportunity must be resolved.

•      What new information needs are associated with the problem? Provide a context for
       future life-cycle decisions by determining if a new information need exists to support a
       solution. Describe the scope of the need in terms of missions and organizations affected.

•      How broad a scope should the solution cover? Provide an overall context within which
       potential solutions to the requirement are defined, helping to ensure that solutions focus on
       the major priority areas. The scope is determined in terms of the organization(s), such as
       agency offices, congressional organizations, or executive branch agencies; the pertinent
       portions of the missions or programmatic functions of each organization; and the potential
       relationship of the current requirement and efforts to formulate its solution to other
       previously identified requirements and ongoing related efforts.

A CBA is prepared as a companion document with the feasibility study.
The CBA is the document that provides managers with adequate cost and benefit information to analyze and evaluate alternative approaches. It provides information for management to make decisions to initiate a proposed program-- to continue or discontinue the development, acquisition, or modification of information systems or resources.
A sample outline of a feasibility study is provided.


1.1      Origin of Request

This section identifies the originator and describes the circumstances that precipitated this project request. Provide the objectives of the Feasibility Study in clear, measurable terms.

1.2      Explanation of Requirement

This section describes the information management requirement in programmatic, technology-independent terms. It should state the specific deviations from the desired situation and the source and/or cause of the new requirement or opportunity. It describes any new information need(s) associated with the requirement or opportunity. The section should identify the cause(s) and effect(s) of the requirement or opportunity and validate the description of the requirement or opportunity with all affected organizations.

1.3      Organization Information

This section identifies the organization(s) mentioned in Section 1.1, Origin of Request, and the pertinent current procedures, information, and systems of those organizations. Provide descriptions of the relevant procedures and systems as appropriate.

The section should specify all organizational units involved, list the organizational unit(s) at all levels of the Service and external organizations that relate to the requirement or opportunity, and describe the pertinent mission area(s) and programmatic functions of each.

1.4      Glossary

Provide a glossary of all terms and abbreviations used in the Feasibility Study. If the glossary is several pages in length, include it as an appendix to the study.


This section states the criteria by which the alternatives will be evaluated. The criteria should make a distinction among characteristics that must be present in the system for it to be acceptable.


This section provides a description for each alternative proposed to handle the defined problem. It should describe the resources required, associated risk, system architecture, technology used, and the manual process flow for each alternative. The section should state at least two alternatives for each feasibility study-- one being the alternative of doing nothing, if appropriate-- and predict the anticipated benefits of each alternative and the likely effects of not taking action on the alternative. The section should also state benefits in terms of technical, operational, and economic feasibility.

3.1      Alternative Model

This section presents a high-level data flow diagram and logical data model, if possible, from current physical processes and data for the proposed system alternative.

3.2      Description

This section states the required and desirable features, and provides a concise narrative of the effects of implementing this alternative.


This section provides a systematic comparison of the alternatives and documents potential problems resulting from the implementation of each.


This section provides a narrative that supports the recommended alternative program. The section should select the most advantageous program to implement the required functional capabilities based on the functional and technical concepts that satisfy the need. The information system should not be obtained at the price of inappropriate development risk or the loss of efficiency, capability, or capacity in the supported function.

Feasibility Study Outline

Cover Page
Table of Contents

1.0       Introduction
            1.1       Origin of Request
            1.2       Explanation of Requirement
            1.3       Organization Information
            1.4       Glossary

2.0       Evaluation Criteria

3.0       Alternative Descriptions
            3.1       Alternative Model
            3.2       Description

4.0       Alternative Evaluation

5.0       Recommendation

Table of Contents | Appendix C-3 | Appendix C-5