Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ)

I’ve been hearing about these type of government contracts more and more lately. I guess they’ve been around for years, but just maybe getting more popular in the circles I travel. IDIQ contracts provide for an indefinite quantity of supplies or services during a fixed period of time. They are frequently awarded by US Government agencies, including the GSA and the DOD. They are most often used for architect-engineering services, such as IT projects.

As I work with government agencies, I find their waterfall approaches to project management and estimation to be frustrating. I hear a lot of “we do it because we’ve always done it that way” or “that’s just the way it is in government”. I continue to question this, especially when I see there are government agencies, especially federal, failure-prone ones who are learning to trust their (agile) vendors and IT service providers more and more. The IDIQ contract type is just such proof. It rocks.

I did some searching and found that I wasn’t alone in this thinking. I found some articles on Alistair Cockburn’s site that mention IDIQ as part of a larger list of Agile contract approaches.