A Strategy for Program Success Leading Indicators for Early Warning

This slide deck from the Defense Information Systems Agency provides a great overview and examination of failed IT projects. In most all cases, the IT projects showed signs of project risk of failure. The creator of the slide deck, Rebecca Cowen-Hirsch, then goes on to include some of the underlying conditions that those indicators may have been exposing. The presentation explains the typical program manager challenge in the DoD: the balance between calendar driven processes (such as planning and programming), threat driven processes, and event driven processes. The program manager needs to identify possible indicators in all processes occurring. Cowen-Hirsch includes some indicators and the possible consequences of them as well, such as the possible consequences of the indicator unrealistic schedule: Most likely will result in a program off the critical path from the start. Can affect other programs under development (via dependencies).Can affect costs if the contractor has to add more personnel to try to get a program back on track. Quality of delivered product or service may be reduced while trying to meet schedule. The solutions to the indicators and possible problems include and increased communication stream between program manager, stakeholders, and team members, more strongly defined requirements, and consistent data collection. While the presentation is centered around a very specific set of examples, the value of the observations in solutions and identification of issues can be used by any organisation looking for insight.

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