FlipSide: FCW Time Machine: 2004

Midway through June 2004, EDS was struggling to achieve the service-level agreements in its performance-based services contract for the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI). Defense reporter Matthew French’s story in the June 28, 2004, issue of Federal Computer Week makes it clear why EDS was struggling three years and nine months into the largest network outsourcing contract that the Defense Department had ever awarded.

Here is an excerpt from that 2004 story:

The contract for NMCI, the Navy’s massive initiative to create a single enterprise network at about 400 shore-based sites, is built on service-level agreements (SLAs) — specific tasks that the lead contractor, EDS, must perform in order to receive financial compensation. Each SLA outlines metrics or parameters covering everything from network throughput to help-desk response time.

Navy and Marine Corps officials recently decided that too many SLAs were bogging down the contract. It was difficult to focus on building and populating the network when more than 240 parameters had to be followed, said NMCI Director Navy Rear Adm. Charles Munns.

“In the past 2 1⁄2 months, we have worked with the Navy and Marine Corps team to reduce the total number to about eight SLAs and 30 parameters,” Munns said. “Depending on how you looked at it, we had 44 SLAs and 240 parameters to fit.”

Navy Capt. Chris Christopher, NMCI’s staff director, said the contractors erred on the side of caution by loading the contract with SLAs. Officials later discovered that many of those agreements were too narrowly focused and didn’t allow for the larger project to progress as planned. “We’re going to have fewer SLAs, but they’re going to have a greater effect and be more measurable,” Christopher said.

He said he didn’t know which SLAs are slated for elimination or whether there is a specific target.

Christopher gave examples of services that do not need such intense scrutiny. E-mail, for instance, is a key component of NMCI. The SLAs in place were being used to measure how long it took for a message to travel from a sender’s computer to a server, from that server to a network operations center, from that center to a different center, from there to another server and finally to the recipient.

Lessons learned
That year, the Navy and EDS brought the number of performance metrics down from about 200 to 34, said Randy Dove, executive director of global government affairs at EDS, in an interview last week. “There was certainly a lot of learning and a realization that we needed to do this.”

— Florence Olsen

The 2015 Federal 100

Meet 100 women and men who are doing great things in federal IT.

Featured

  • Shutterstock image (by venimo): e-learning concept image, digital content and online webinar icons.

    Can MOOCs make the grade for federal training?

    Massive open online courses can offer specialized IT instruction on a flexible schedule and on the cheap. That may not always mesh with government's preference for structure and certification, however.

  • Shutterstock image (by edel): graduation cap and diploma.

    Cybersecurity: 6 schools with the right stuff

    The federal government craves more cybersecurity professionals. These six schools are helping meet that demand.

  • Rick Holgate

    Holgate to depart ATF

    Former ACT president will take a job with Gartner, follow his spouse to Vienna, Austria.

  • Are VA techies slacking off on Yammer?

    A new IG report cites security and productivity concerns associated with employees' use of the popular online collaboration tool.

  • Shutterstock image: digital fingerprint, cyber crime.

    Exclusive: The OPM breach details you haven't seen

    An official timeline of the Office of Personnel Management breach obtained by FCW pinpoints the hackers’ calibrated extraction of data, and the government's step-by-step response.

  • Stephen Warren

    Deputy CIO Warren exits VA

    The onetime acting CIO at Veterans Affairs will be taking over CIO duties at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

  • Shutterstock image: monitoring factors of healthcare.

    DOD awards massive health records contract

    Leidos, Accenture and Cerner pull off an unexpected win of the multi-billion-dollar Defense Healthcare Management System Modernization contract, beating out the presumptive health-records leader.

  • Sweating the OPM data breach -- Illustration by Dragutin Cvijanovic

    Sweating the stolen data

    Millions of background-check records were compromised, OPM now says. Here's the jaw-dropping range of personal data that was exposed.

  • FCW magazine

    Let's talk about Alliant 2

    The General Services Administration is going to great lengths to gather feedback on its IT services GWAC. Will it make for a better acquisition vehicle?

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above