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FCW : April 15, 2014
ence, however, it adds risk to a pro- gram if contractors ll most of the roles. It is not that the contractor employ- ees do not possess the necessary com- petence, and the PMO can certainly include contractor personnel in sup- port roles. But the goal is for a PMO to be integrated, and that is dif cult to do with contractor personnel holding most of the key roles. The government needs strong contractor teams to help it execute large, complex programs. But even more important, we need strong government-led PMOs to provide leader- ship and oversight of the work. Another key to success is ensur- ing the involvement of the right mis- sion or business organization. Having full-time mission representatives who can successfully work within the PMO to de ne the system s requirements is crucial. In assessing a program, I look for individuals on the PMO team who are steeped in the current pro- cess end-to-end, who have true cred- ibility with senior management, and who demonstrate exibility to deal with unending change as a program unfolds and matures. Unfortunately, those crucial individ- uals are all too often absent in federal IT programs. The business does not give up the star players to ll those roles. You will often have special- ists in particular business areas, but no one who has an end-to-end view. That impinges on a program s change management process and ultimately affects its schedule and cost. It does not in and of itself doom a program, but it is a predictor of failure. Finally, all members of the PMO should report to the program man- ager and should be measured and assessed on a shared set of objectives --- outcomes that support meeting the mission or business objectives that spawned the need for the program. Too often members of the PMO are measured on process results rather than on beneficial outcomes. The federal government would improve its ability to buy IT substantially if the contracting of cers reported to the program managers and were mea- sured not just on following the pro- curement regulations but on deliver- ables provided by the contractor and the success of the program. Program managers are often stuck with con- tract vehicles that are ill suited to the work that needs to be done, and they have no recourse. Can a well-staffed PMO guarantee success? Of course not. But a PMO stocked with quali ed leaders in the required disciplines who are working toward a common set of outcome- based success measures is the most important element for any complex IT program. It is where every agency should start. ■ April 15, 2014 FCW.COM 29 Program manager: Col. Patrick Burden Project Manager, General Fund Enterprise Business System, Army Business lead: Deborah Nolan Former Commissioner, Large and Mid-Size Business Division, Internal Revenue Service System architect: Tom Lucas Former Senior Adviser for Enterprise Architecture, IRS Security architect: David Carroll Chief Security Architect, DHS Data architect: Michael Simcock Chief Data Architect, Department of Homeland Security Requirements manager: Marla Somerville Associate CIO, Affordable Care Act PMO, IRS Development and integration manager: Tracy Hollis Solutions Engineering Manager for the Homeland Security Information Network, DHS Test manager: Ross McDonald Former Senior Technical Adviser, IRS Operations manager: Damon Bragg Former Services Operations Manager, DHS Contracting of cer: Tiffany Hixson Regional Commissioner, General Services Administration Note: This list includes several retired feds, and even then lacks a name for one key role --- evidence of just how hard it is to assemble and keep top program management talent. Know someone else we should have included? Let us know on Twitter at @FCWnow. Naming names: PMO linchpins This list is far from comprehensive, but these individuals are real-life examples of the exceptional talent agencies need.
March 30, 2014
April 30, 2014