FAA puts IT projects on fast track

CIO says IT projects in fiscal 2011 and 2012 will have six-month deadlines

The Federal Aviation Administration is slowly saying good-bye to IT projects that take several years to deliver results, and is instead assigning select projects a six-month deadline, according to a senior official. 

Steven Cooper, CIO of FAA’s Air Traffic Organization, said any project his agency starts in fiscal 2011 or fiscal 2012 will take less than six months to deliver “tangible business value, as defined by a designated business value owner.”

Cooper, speaking at an event today hosted by the Association of Management Consulting Firms, said the six-month deadline is absolute. As a result, he has told his team they may “de-scope” requirements if necessary to meet the deadline.

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“We’re going at that directly…keep requirements at a minimum,” Cooper said. “We’re not trying to cram three-year or five-year programs into six months.”

He said projects are being handled so they can deliver business value in a shorter time, adding that none of the fast-tracked projects have to do with the National Airspace System.

“We’re not starting at the top,” Cooper said. “[We’ve] deliberately picked projects that lend themselves to what we’re trying to do.”

 A couple of these projects are already underway and one has already been completed ahead of planned delivery, he said. The agency’s first fast-track project had a four-month delivery, but it was done in 90 days.

Cooper said his agency has flexibility because it does not fall under the Federal Acquisition Regulation, but has its own procurement system – the Acquisition Management System.

About the Author

Alyah Khan is a staff writer covering IT policy.

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Reader comments

Thu, Mar 3, 2011

The article specified that these projects are NON-NAS. What it seems to be saying is that the larger projects will have to be busted up into multiple, smaller projects to meet the 6 month time line. Multiple awards could mean increased cost to meet the reduced time frames.

Thu, Mar 3, 2011

I think the article and/or Mr. Cooper may have over simplified the acquisition process within the FAA. Most NAS-related acquistions, requirements development through complete implementation, take much longer than 6 months. Once the contract is awarded the implementation through ORD is much longer than 6 months. Very few NAS related projects would make it through IOC before 6 months. If so, it would be for just one ATC location. The NAS is very complex and we have a very active unions to work with. Plus the AMS is not and end all. Much of the benefits of AMS can be found in the FAR. So don't think that being relieved from gov regulations is the silver bullet.

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