A Different Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
Through the recent IT management reform effort established by The White House, a totally different type of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell may be coming to an end. This is of course the practice of conducting multi-million/billion dollar projects without sufficient Project Management involvement by the involved Federal Agencies. As Trey Hodgkins said to FCW, “Right now, the way the process works, it is purely coincidental if all the elements in the process are actually talking to each other”, producing a de-facto practice of not asking, and not reporting issues in project progress. It is this practice that the White House’s reform is attempting to address.
The reform looks to create a new career path for Government personnel to establish a knowledge base and experience in successful IT Project Management, which will provide a large pool of candidates to provide these services from within Federal Agencies. This will help alleviate the strain on existing Federal Project Managers, who are diverted between an increasing number of projects, and provide more resources to ensure any project over a specific size will have diligent Agency based Project Management.
I fear that even with increased training and market competitive incentives, there will still be asymmetries in the relationship between Agencies and Vendors that will produce eventual issues with project outcomes. The core issue is that Federal expectations are not being sufficiently integrated into the contractual commitments and project roadmaps that underlie these projects. Increased monitoring and review of project metrics will allow Agencies to better identify when realities are diverging from expectations. However, the multi-billion dollar question is if this will be able to improve the communication of these expectations into the project scope, or somehow prevent Vendors from changing their scope as projects progress.
About Steve Young
Steve serves as the Director of the Technology Resale division. Steve manages all aspects of Winvale’s GSA Schedule contracts. Steve also leads the company in RFP/RFQ responses where Winvale is the Prime Contractor. Responsible for over 60 manufacturers on Winvale’s GSA Schedule contracts, Steve insures that each manufacturer’s products or services are compliant and within scope of each GSA contract.