GSA Government-wide Section 508 Accessibility Program

Agency Life Cycle Metric Assessment Guidelines and Decision Tree

Return to Guidelines for Assessing Program Maturity

Definition
Why is this important?
Examples
Decision Tree Flowchart (New)

Definition

This metric defines to what extent an Agency conducts validation of Section 508 requirements to ensure incorporation into Agency EIT life cycle activities, including enterprise architecture, design, development, testing, deployment, and ongoing maintenance activities.

Why is this important?

Enterprise life cycles are used to define the end-to-end approach to approving, building, deploying and supporting Agency technology. The least effective and most expensive approach to supporting compliance is to treat Section 508 requirements as an afterthought in response to test results or worse, in response to complaints from people with disabilities. The most effective and least expensive approach is to intentionally and systematically consider Section 508 requirements at all stages of the enterprise life cycle. This is analogous to the saying “it’s cheaper and easier to use an eraser to modify an architectural drawing than a sledgehammer to tear down a wall.”

Examples

The following examples are provided to demonstrate how an Agency may translate their current operations against the maturity measures and are not intended to represent all possibilities.

  1. Ad Hoc: There are no formal Agency policies, processes procedures in place to ensure Section 508 activities are incorporated into Agency EIT life cycle activities. The Agency approach is defined on a case-by-case basis. Section 508 milestones, reviews and approvals are inconsistently defined or adhered to. Checkpoints for Section 508 compliance, if they do happen, generally occur during the end of the lifecycle.

  2. Planned: Agency policies, processes and procedures are established which require Section 508 review and signoff at several milestones throughout the lifecycle activities. Training, consistency and adequate resources to implement these checkpoints are lacking.

  3. Resourced: Agency policy, processes and procedures for incorporating Section 508 into enterprise lifecycle activities are established and communicated to the appropriate stakeholders. Agency staff is made available and trained in how to perform activities and conduct approvals. Section 508 life cycle activities are conducted in accordance with Agency policy, processes and procedures.

  4. Measured: Agency staff are trained and made available to implement Section 508 activities through enterprise life cycles, and consistently adhere to them. The Agency also collects data on the implementation and results of these checkpoints and uses that data to inform future decision making and planning.

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Decision Tree Flowchart (New)

Use the following decision tree to ascertain the most appropriate maturity level. Scroll down for text version.

Life Cycle decision tree. Refer to the full text version below this image for detailed descriptions

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Decision Tree - Text Version:

Maturity Question Implied Maturity Level If the Answer is “No” Key Considerations before moving onto the next question
  1. Do you have an Agency plan for inclusion of Section 508 EIT life cycle activities?
Ad Hoc: You have a general outline, a circulated draft or policy, or one is being developed.  
  1. Does your policy require Section 508 milestones, reviews and approvals for EIT milestones?
Ad Hoc: Formal policies have been defined for some parts of the EIT lifecycle, but not all EIT milestones. If the answer is yes, a policy is in place to include Section 508 milestones, reviews and approvals in the EIT life cycle. Milestones should include including enterprise architecture, design, development, testing, deployment and ongoing maintenance activities.
  1. Do you have an implementation plan?
Ad Hoc: Agency EIT milestones, reviews and approvals are inconsistently defined or adhered to or checkpoints only happen at the end of the lifecycle. If the answer is yes, then an implementation plan has been created which includes policies, processes, procedures and/or checklists to include EIT Section 508 reviews and approvals at key milestones.
  1. Have you communicated the policies, processes and procedures to appropriate stakeholders?
Ad Hoc: The policies, processes and procedures have been communicated to some, but not all key stakeholders, or this is currently underway. If the answer is yes, policies, processes and procedures for inclusion of Section 508 into the process have been communicated to all stakeholders who are involved in EIT life cycle activities.
  1. Are staff available to implement the Section 508 milestones, reviews and approvals?
Ad Hoc: Resources are not available or assigned. If the answer is yes, specific resources have been identified, are committed, and know what their role is at EIT life cycle milestones.
  1. Are the assigned resources trained in how to incorporate Section 508 requirements into EIT lifecycle?
Planned: The staff is available to implement but they have not been trained on what their role is for Section 508 inclusion into the EIT lifecycle. If the answer is yes, the resources know how to incorporate Section 508 requirements, what their role is for ensuring compliance with Section 508, and when and how exceptions should be reviewed and approved.
  1. Does the agency validate and sign off on Section 508 in all EIT life cycle activities?
Planned: EIT milestones include Section 508 reviews but are not validated by trained staff or are not done consistently. If the answer is yes, the agency applies the appropriate level of due diligence (expert review to hands-on testing) to validate Section 508 conformance during all EIT milestones.
  1. Does the agency validate adherence to policies, processes and procedures?
Resourced: Policies are implemented but tracking data is not collected or analyzed. If the answer is yes, then the agency has implemented policies, processes and procedures, and takes steps to validate that Section 508 conformance is happening during all EIT milestones.
  1. Is data used to inform decisions and improve effectiveness and efficiency?
Resourced: Data is collected but is not analyzed and no improvements have been made.  
  1. You are at the Measured level if the following is true: Policy is fully implemented, staffed and is consistently adhered to. Data is collected to manage risk and prioritize opportunities for improving the Section 508 compliance program.
   

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