Breaking up big IT projects for better results - works!

Thursday - 9/9/2010, 8:30pm EDT

Paul Strasser

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Your agency is working on IT projects that may take years, and may have problems with delivery, budget, or both. One approach the administration has advocated since before taking office is breaking IT projects into smaller pieces. The goal is to revisit projects as the sections are completed, making sure the work never gets too far off track.

And both government agencies and vendors are buying into the concept. "I think it's the right thing to do," Paul Strasser, Senior Vice President of Strategic Development at Dynamics Research Corporation told me on Industry Chatter this afternoon. "It became very obvious during the administration change, during transition. The thought was these large projects are sometimes just too cumbersome, too hard to manage. They also run into potential budget issues as appropriations change on the Hill. They wanted to break these things into smaller pieces to make them more manageable."

And Paul confirmed that goal - making them more manageable - is working. "When you break them into smaller pieces, and you look at it, it fits with the mode in which we're developing systems today, which is around agile development, iterative development, and spiral development. So it all fits together in a very nice fashion to get the results you need to drive towards."

Paul explained what those three kinds of development are, and how they're different. Paul and I also talked about his three tenants of cyber security - people, process, and technology - and how those three elements impact each other, and your agency's effort to keep its network secure. We also dug into the reasons behind the challenges agencies have defining requirements in contracts. You can hear the whole conversation by clicking the audio link.