A final solicitation is now live for this multiple-award effort known as SPRUCE, which seeks more modern and commercial-like software development services.
The Veterans Affairs Department is now ready for industry to start working on and submitting their proposals for a five-year, $2.4 billion contract to help develop digital products for user experience initiatives.
Bids for the Secure Performant Reliable and User Centered Experiences vehicle are due by 3 p.m. Eastern time on Dec. 17, VA said in the final solicitation released Wednesday.
Like the current iteration, the contract known as SPRUCE will be a multiple-award effort and be reserved for service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses.
SPRUCE's final request for proposals describes how VA wants to acquire delivery services from teams whose core capabilities include areas like software development and operation, technical advising and architecture planning, service design and user research studies, data science and data analytics, product support operations.
At its essence, SPRUCE will be a go-to mechanism for VA to bring in more modern and commercial-like software development services that are available to internal and external users. SPRUCE will be the follow-on to the current iteration called CEDAR, short for Customer Experience DevOps and Agile Releases.
VA awarded CEDAR in 2021 at a shared ceiling of $247 million to four companies: Agile Six Technologies, Coforma, Magnum Opus and Oddball. The department has obligated $173 million of that ceiling to-date with March 28, 2026 as the last date to order, according to GovTribe data.
SPRUCE's ceiling will be almost 10 times that and go to eight companies, indicating VA's intent to expand the scope of work for this follow-on contract. In the event of a tie at the 8th position, all companies that end up tied there will receive an award.
If a tie occurs at any other position before the 8th position, one tied or essentially equal bidder will take the slot they were tied at and the second will move into the next ranking.
VA also breaks down the factors to be evaluated across that include three on the technical aspects of the proposal.
Two of those technical factors involve case studies, while the third involves a code challenge and written technical approach. Factor four for evaluation is all about price.
On the matter of development methodologies VA is interested in, this line on Page 14 and Section 3.1 of the final RFP is worth taking into account:
"The contractor’s support and solutions shall follow the practices described in the Digital Services Playbook (https://playbook.cio.gov/). The contractor shall be thoroughly familiar with the concepts in each play and implement them in its approaches and support."
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