Government // Enterprise Architecture
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1/14/2014
08:36 AM
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4 Ways To Improve Federal Software Procurement

Agencies need to think beyond buying and customizing enterprise software systems and look for software that can be adapted as requirements change.

Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel speaking at Churchill Club in October 2011. (Source: TechwireNet - YouTube)
Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel speaking at Churchill Club in October 2011. (Source: TechwireNet - YouTube)

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moarsauce123
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moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
1/17/2014 | 7:07:02 AM
Agree as well, but ...(as well)
Major IT projects fail often, that has nothing to do with the government. Look at the many SAP implementations that went sour. The problem is that these projects are too big, too complex, and lack decision makers.

For government projects and that includes IT projects the procurement rules are designed to spread the wealth. That is why over 50 contractors were in the mix for healthcare.gov. That alone needs a massive effort in project management to have the 25 left hands know what the 25 right hands do. Congress needs to put measures in place where the number of contractors for a project can be reduced to a manageable number. Spreading the wealth is still possible by ranking those who got a deal lower the next time a project is up for bid. The UK government already put measures like this in place and has most IT projects succeed. But I guess the US will continue using Europe simply as whiping boy rather than as source of knowledge...
jries921
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jries921,
User Rank: Ninja
1/16/2014 | 12:25:44 PM
Agreed in full, but...
One of the things we should get out of the problems with federal software procurement  is a sense of the dangers of overreliance on outsourcing (we should get that out of the Snowden incident as well).   Organizations typically employ a fair number of intelligent people with good ideas and not all of them are managers.  And unlike contractors or consultants, regular employees have invested part of their working careers in the organization and are likely to be there to pick up the pieces when the contract is finished.  Ergo, the regular IT staff in both federal agencies and elsewhere should have the freedom to experiment and develop programs and systems that help them do their own jobs better and help the front line employees do their jobs better.  IT makes sense to outsource for big ticket items, but the careerists should be actively involved in developing the specifications, and they're the ones who should be administering the systems when they go on line (there's really no valid excuse for outsourcing system administration in a large organization).

The general principles should be:


1.  Contractors should handle temporary needs.  Permanent employees should handle permanant ones.

2.  Core governmental functions (especially the ones involving the use of force) should always be in the hands of regular government employees (who might be temporary or part time); never contractors.

 
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