LETTERS

I can't resist making a few comments about the article by John Gioia "Strong independent management crucial to large IT programs" [FCW Sept. 16].

The problem with large IT programs never has been the strength independence or management tools of the program office. My observations of "problem" IT programs indicate three consistent problems.

First is the lack of consultation with the actual user. From on high the functions are dictated by management with a strong accounting flavor. When the prototype is "tested " requirements creep is blamed in reality the system is getting the proper amount of input from the user for the first time.

Second is the failure to use a thorough method for bridging the knowledge gap between the process expert and the software expert. The same word means different things to different people from different backgrounds. The result is that the system needs to do something different - which also is blamed on requirements creep. If someone says the user doesn't know his requirements until he uses the system that is because of failure in one of these areas.

Third is the excessive development procedures and the time it takes to get anything into the hands of the user. While the "development" has gone into seclusion far off in developerland Congress changes the rules DOD reorganizes Tandem announces a Windows NT platform and thousands of "Web pages" start popping up all over the world. In other words the length of time required for most IT developments allows both the process and the technology to change substantially.

It is painful but it is changing. The days of Gioia's approach to system development are quickly approaching their end. His article sounds like the last snarling cry of a technology in the throes of obsolescence.Frank BoydstunProgram ManagerIndustrial Process ImprovementTinker Air Force Base Okla.

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