Obtain Hardware and Software for a Trial Period Process


Process Owner: Manager, Technology Support

Note: An owner must be a PCES-level manager.

This process establishes standard tools and processes for obtaining hardware and software for a trial period within the Postal Service Technical Environment.


The purpose of the Obtain Hardware and Software for a Trial Period Process is to provide the processes for approval when testing new products for a trial period.


This process establishes the Postal Service’s process for governing trial and evaluation of IT hardware (e.g., computer systems and related peripherals, network components), software (both commercial off-the-shelf [COTS] software and development tools) or environments.

The Postal Service does not encourage free product trials because they:

However, free trials might offer advantages under the following circumstances:


There are two processes and standards for testing a product for a trial period: the Pre-Submission Requirements Process and the Trial Request Submission Process.

Note: Before you begin a free product trial, you must first get approval from the Manager, Technology Support, and the Vice President (VP) / IT Operations (ITO).

Pre-Submission Requirements

Use the following steps when preparing your free trial proposal:

  1. Design the trial criteria and determine test goals. Formulate and submit the criteria for testing the proposed trial products to the manager of Technology Support. Provide a description of the basic functions of any proposed test product, including specific functions that illustrate capabilities outside of existing Postal Service infrastructure.

  2. Evaluate the accessibility compliance under Section 508, which is required for all electronic technology and software. Seek advice from the National Section 508 Coordinator. Send an email to section508@usps.gov.

  3. Determine the infrastructure cost of conducting the trial. Submit an estimate of the cost for conducting the trial. When evaluating the costs, include:

  4. Determine employee labor costs to prepare for and run the trial. Include the cost of employee labor to:

  5. Establish the duration and terms of the trial. The terms of the trial period must specify that:

  6. Note: The Postal Service allows free trials of a hardware and software product only if the product to be tested has met one of the following conditions:

  7. Determine how you will pay for the product tests. The requester is responsible for funding all costs associated with the trial period, including any costs associated with returning the computing environment (including any affected applications or data stores) to a pre-trial condition. The requester is also responsible for complying with the security policies in the IT Website.

Sample Product Comparison Table – Provide a comparison between the proposed product and two comparable products and indicate support for the functions listed:

Function or Feature to Be Evaluated
Free Trial Product 1
Free Trial Product 2
Existing Postal Service Product 3
F1: enter function #1 Enter Product 1 results Enter Product 2 results Enter Product 3 results
F2: enter function #2 Enter Product 1 results Enter Product 2 results Enter Product 3 results
ETC: enter add’l functions Enter Product 1 results Enter Product 2 results Enter Product 3 results

Trial Request Submission Process

To request approval to use a trial product:

  1. Prepare documents that fulfill the trial design criteria, evaluation criteria, and cost of conducting the trial, and the five-year total cost of ownership. The following information will be included:

    • Detailed reasons for the request and estimate the value of the products.
    • A summary of the new functions the product provides.
    • A description of existing problems or deficiencies the product may solve or alleviate.
    • The proposed period for testing; the test period must be 180 days or less from the initial installation date of the product.

  2. Complete an eBuy requisition:

  3. Note: Your organization may be obligated to fund the actual transportation, installation, or reinstallation charges as part of the free trial agreement.

  4. Submit the completed eBuy and supporting documentation to the Manager, Technology Support. The Manager, Technology Support, will review and either return the request (if the request is not complete) or submit it to the VP / ITO with a recommendation for approval or rejection of the request.


In this section, there is a diagram of the Obtain Hardware and Software for a Trial Period process. There are five swim lanes; from top to bottom they are: Pre-Submission Requirement; 508 Coordinator; Trial Request; Manager, Technology Support; and VP / ITO. The 1st process step is “Design Trial Criteria and Determine Test Goals”, which is in the Pre-Submission Requirement swim lane. The 2nd process step is a decision point, “Is Trial Software 508 Compliant?”, which is the 508 Coordinator swim lane. If the trial software is 508 compliant, the 3rd step, “Document Costs to Include Labor IT Duration” follows, which is in the Pre-Submission Requirement swim lane. If the trial software is not 508 compliant, no trial period is granted and the process ends. The 4th step is a decision point, “Approved Funding?” in the Pre-Submission Requirement swim lane. There are three possible outcomes: If there is no approved funding and funding is required, no trial period is granted and the process ends. If the product is being tested through a free trial, the 5th step is “Complete Form 2629 and Have Supplier Sign”, which is in the Trial Request swim lane. If there is approved funding and a trial purchase is required, the 6th step is “Prepare eBuy (with Manager Approval) and Submit to the Appropriate CMC”, which is in the Trial Request swim lane. The 7th step is “Submit Prepared Documents to Manager, Technology Support”, which is in the Manager, Technology Support swim lane. The 8th step is “ Final Documents Submitted to VP / ITO for Approval”, which is in the VP / ITO swim lane. There are no further steps for this process.






Access Supporting Documentation from ITWEB (internal):

Access Supporting Documentation from USPS.com (external):


Version 1.0  
Sections Revised: N/A
Revision Description: Baseline
Version 2.0  
Sections Revised: All
Revision Description: Separated “telecom” out from hardware and made related changes.
Date: 03.09.2012
Version 2.1  
Sections Revised: Supporting Documentation
Revision Description: Created redirect link from ITWEB and updated Supporting Documentation hyperlinks, so document is published only on USPS.com.
Date: 08.06.2014