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FCW : June 15, 2014
Editor'sNote There was no shortage of interesting discussions at ACT- IAC's recent Management of Change conference. Does agile development really work at agency scale? Should the government ever serve as its own systems integrator? Do federal workplaces have what it takes to attract and retain young talent? And what, in a large and regulation-bound organization, does it take to truly innovate? Perhaps the most important question, though, cut across all those conversations: Why is everyone so afraid to fail? I'm not talking about failure at the level of HealthCare.gov or the Expeditionary Combat Support System. No institution, public or private, can afford to let critical projects run off the rails at that scale. But many feds avoid risking even the tiniest misstep or paper over smaller failings until they produce truly serious problems that can no longer be ignored. There are legitimate reasons for risk aversion, of course. Government is held to a different standard. The "waste" of a single taxpayer dollar can be construed as a career-ending offense, and plenty of politicians are happy to rake agencies over the coals. Silicon Valley reveres bold experiments that don't pan out, but inspectors general can see them as reckless disregard for process and prudence. And there are still pockets of the federal workforce where "why try?" attitudes can beat down would-be innovators. And yes, there is the media. One particularly candid conversation at the conference focused on the press' xation with failure and why successes so rarely make it to the headlines. Shouldn't the Department of Veterans Affairs' impressive progress on clearing its claims backlog get coverage alongside the allegations of "secret lists" and delayed treatment? It's a fair question. FCW does better than most in covering both the problems and their xes, but we ignore our fair share of "isn't this great?" stories. That's not inherent negativity, however; it's a desire to help the federal IT community learn and improve. It's not just that stories of problems identi ed and addressed make for better reads. Failing fast is the best way to get better --- in agile development and in life. We're trying to share those lessons more broadly. And perhaps learn from our own mistakes in the process. --- TROY K. SCHNEIDER firstname.lastname@example.org, @troyschneider Fixating on failure June 15, 2014 FCW.COM 7 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF EXECUTIVE EDITOR Troy K. Schneider John Bicknell MANAGING EDITOR Terri J. Huck STAFF WRITERS Colby Hochmuth, Sean Lyngaas, Adam Mazmanian, Mark Rockwell CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Richard E. Cohen, Alan Joch, Konstantin Kakaes, John Moore, Colleen O'Hara, Katherine Reynolds Lewis, Richard A. Spires, Sarah Lai Stirland CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jef f Langkau ASSISTANT ART DIRECTOR Dragutin Cvijanovic SENIOR WEB DESIGNER Martin Peace EDITORIAL FELLOWS Reid Davenport, Jonathan Lutton PRESIDENT James Causey CHIEF CONTENT OFFICER Anne Armstrong CHIEF REVENUE OFFICER Wendy LaDuke CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER Carmel McDonagh PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Neal Vitale SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT AND CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Richard Vitale EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT Michael J. Valenti VICE PRESIDENT, FINANCE & ADMINISTRATION Christopher M. Coates VICE PRESIDENT, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY& APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT Erik A. Lindgren VICE PRESIDENT, EVENT OPERATIONS David F. Myers CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD Jef frey S. Klein HOW TO REACH THE STAFF A list of sta members can be found online at www.fcw.com. E-mail: Sta members can be reached by using the nam- ing convention of first initial followed by their last name @1105media.com. Vienna O ce (weekdays, 8:30 a.m. -- 5:30 p.m. ET) (703) 876-5100; Fax (703) 876-5126 8609 Westwood Center Drive, Suite 500, Vienna, VA 22182-2215 Corporate O ce (weekdays, 8:30 a.m. -- 5:30 p.m. PT) (818) 814-5200; Fax (818) 734-1522 9201 Oakdale Avenue, Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311
June 30, 2014
July 15, 2014