Government IT 'Fundamentally Flawed,' Researchers Say - InformationWeek

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Government IT 'Fundamentally Flawed,' Researchers Say

Fixing how federal agencies purchase and manage IT will take top leadership and new approaches, say the authors of a new report.

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Henrisha
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Henrisha,
User Rank: Strategist
6/18/2014 | 6:15:38 AM
Re: Smaller Projects
This is why it's important to work with external teams as well. It just helps balance everything out in the long run.
Henrisha
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Henrisha,
User Rank: Strategist
6/18/2014 | 5:22:54 AM
Re: "Succeed"?
I agree with those measures for determining the success of a program. To achieve the objectives of the program, well, that's the entire point of why someone would create it in the first place, right?
ElenaMalykhina
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ElenaMalykhina,
User Rank: Author
6/17/2014 | 4:30:38 PM
Re: "Succeed"?
According to the report's authors, success should be defined in terms of a program's ability to achieve defined outcomes and other key milestones that lead to those outcomes. That is ultimately the most important success measure.
Happily Retired
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50%
Happily Retired,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/17/2014 | 1:48:47 PM
Re: Smaller Projects
Yes, leadership churn is up there as an issue even in local as well as federal levels.  Changes in elected "leaders" results in new dept and division appointees.   At our local level, my 35 yrs witnessed a parade of unqualified management.  When your IT manager refers to IT staff as equivalent to Librarians, checking IN and OUT books, well that speaks volumes.

Personnally, I also fault contractors.   Most IT projects of any size in government are essential run by private contractors.   Any sharp IT person could likely walk into any government "maintenance only" shop and immediately see, large new system implementations is beyond the skills of staff and management.  That is, ripe for the pickings.

No contract with a private IT contractor under those circumstances will every hold their feet to the fire.

My ex-employer, 5yrs ago started a replace Finanicals and HR...for $7mil.....its now over $25mil and still plowing along.  Most upper management were "replaced", contractors replaced, project staff changed, product mix changed,  timelines missed and written in pencil...always!!!

Happily Retired!!!!!!
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
6/17/2014 | 12:19:03 PM
Re: Smaller Projects
City IT and fedearal IT are quite different beasts, as our contributor Jonathan Feldman can explain better than I can. The leadership churn has been an issue in federal IT for several years.
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
6/17/2014 | 10:42:35 AM
Re: Smaller Projects
>> "This is not about IT procurement, but more about the way we solve big problems. Right now, the way we run IT programs is fundamentally flawed. We've erected enormous barriers to entry, limiting innovation and competition,"

 

It sounds like government planners don't know how to THINK about the projects. This is in part because they are on the inside (even contractors), but also because of the size. It would be interesting to ask a techno think tank to look at the problem differently.

They are challenging problems because of the size and the timespan, but perhaps a different approach migth work better.

 

 
Happily Retired
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50%
Happily Retired,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/17/2014 | 10:32:53 AM
Re: Smaller Projects
The Authors should also site rates of "failure" for both public and private IT projects,  give us some context.   Secondly,   much of this advice is pretty well understood in IT however upper management and leadership are major issues in perhaps all levels of government.  

In my employer,   the CEO (Mayor) and Board of Directors (City Council) were community advisists, attorneys etc but lacked ANY experience running any large business.  As Mitt Romney would say "ClusLess".   For example, when your budget is 1% of total city operations,  you get the picture.

Vendors also took advantage of public entities.  Knowing they lack experienced leadership, they would under cut our staff opinions,   Then milk the system for years.   Good luck with those suggestions Authors!
Laurianne
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50%
Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
6/16/2014 | 5:09:22 PM
"Succeed"?
I wonder how the report authors defined "succeed" -- on time, on budget, some quality measure? Perhaps we can add some context here.
RobPreston
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0%
RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
6/16/2014 | 3:04:10 PM
Re: Smaller Projects
If, as the report states, only 6% of government IT projects succeed, the "fear of failure" cause that's cited is a bit ironic.
danielcawrey
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0%
danielcawrey,
User Rank: Ninja
6/16/2014 | 2:31:06 PM
Smaller Projects
I think it would be smarter for government to break projects down into smaller, more manageable chunks. Why have projects go for decades and billions of dollars when technology changes so quickly?

It has to be understood, of course, that government must deal with hugely complex systems. And bureaucracy. So I can't imagine some of the technical challenges and hoops that must be worked through to accomplish things. 
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