Could Independent Program Oversight be a new model for improving the success of IT programs?
A legacy of mismanagement
- Decision-support information and data is often inaccurate, biased, unhelpful, untimely and/or nonexistent.
- No single office or individual, who is free of bias, is steadily and unrelentingly focused on the cost, schedule and performance objectives of the program.
- Highly experienced and skilled program managers are in short supply on government and prime-contractor teams.
- No one is currently responsible for fair and unbiased coordination of multiple entities, including contractors and subcontractors.
- There is no readily available source to provide real-time, independent advice, assessments and evaluations of programperformance.
- Contractor employees may have a bias caused by conflicts of interest.
- Our decision-making is flawed by cognitive biases and organizational pressures to make a case to win investment dollars. Daniel Kahneman, a professor at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School and a 2002 Nobel Prize winner in economics, argues that delusional optimism undermines executive decision-making.
Independent Program Oversight — The IPO
- Conducts multidisciplinary reviews at designated decision milestones to evaluate program and project objectives, efficiencies and effectiveness.
- Validates the Independent Government Cost Estimate, cost analysis methodology and research to create the estimate in relation to the cost analysis.
- Provides independent assessment of cost and schedule compliance, earned value reports and methodologies.
- Recommends approaches for programmatic and technical risk mitigation.
- Provides independent due diligence on critical risk aspects of programs and projects.
- Improves the agency’s independent program and project review processes through relationships with other agency review organizations.
- Assesses process maturity against accepted standards of performance.
- Is a specialist in the field of program and project management.
What’s the value?
- Help mediate disputes between the government and the prime contractor or integrator.
- Speed up the time-to-decision cycle that affects contractor performance.
- Help maintain the program’s established scope, which can also affect performance.
Miller is a senior vice president at Robbins-Gioia, a program management consulting firm in Alexandria, Va., and a 36-year veteran of federal service. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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