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Plan, Do, Cross Your Fingers=Government Project Failure

“On time and within budget.” These are words likely to be used to describe the objectives of a five-year-old's birthday party as much as a government IT project. In his article, Josh Nankivel gives the example of the Los Alamos National Laboratory's security upgrade. All seemed to be going surprisingly well”¦until it suddenly no longer did. At this point in any project, blame goes flying. Nankivel points out that one of the biggest errors in judgment one can make when executing a project is planning, doing, and then just crossing your fingers: Quality isn't something you assess at the end of project. “The faulty work was done by a lab subcontractor in 2010, according to Roark, but was only recently noticed during final “˜commissioning.'” It's part of the process (or at least it should be)…Plan, do, cross your fingers. Does that sound like a good project management methodology to you? I didn't think so. Verification and Validation is so important. And so important to do early and often. Apparently end-to-end testing of the fiber optic instillation was indeed possible in 2010. This allows an approach involving checks, verifications, and validations. Also, it seems that the project had been on time and on budget up until this time. This would lead one to believe that either no one was verifying or validating anything or all checks were being pushed to the last second. If neither of these options is the case, then it is very likely that there is a major communication problem that has been occurring for an extensive period of time. The moral here is do not be like Los Alamos National Laboratory. Nankivel suggests planning, doing, checking, and acting as the proper course of action. Leaving checks until the end of the project leaves one with an astonishingly short time to correct any errors. Milestones, although an established fondness of government agencies, are not nearly as important as verification and validation.

About Matthew Kabik

Matthew Kabik is the former Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He worked at Computer Aid, Inc. from 2008 to 2014 in the Harrisburg offices, where he was a copywriter, swordsman, social media consultant, and trainer before moving into editorial.

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