Federal Bytes

Spy trading

According to industry sources executives at the National Security Agency make a practice of collecting and trading business cards of top IT industry executives who have visited the agency. The hottest items are business cards from visiting executives from before they were famous.

Microsoft Corp.'s Bill Gates apparently is the Mickey Mantle of this small but active market. An old Gates card recently was sold from one spook to another for $25 one source said. We suppose the card must have been in mint condition and probably included the original bubble gum.

McConnell's acronyms continued

The Office of Management and Budget's Bruce McConnell has taken the art of the acronym to a whole new level. His latest is GIRRARMA (pronounced jer-arm-uh) an acronym he came up with to help guide agencies through OMB's Raines' Rules.

Here's how it works. Each letter stands for a question agencies must ask before embarking on an IT project. G is for Government - is this a government function? I is for In-house - should this be done within the agency or elsewhere? R is for Re-engineered - has this business process been re-engineered before the IT investment? Return on investment - will the project result in adequate benefits compared with its cost? Architecture - is it consistent with agency and government architectures? Risk reduction - have steps been taken to increase the likelihood of success? Modular - is it being bought in chunks? and Acquisition plan - is the procurement method sound?

If only someone could come up with an acronym for a person who Makes Clever Cunning and Outrageous New Names by Employing Lots of Letters.

Take my RFP please

If the General Services Administration's John Ortego ever tires of government work he may find a reasonable livelihood as a stand-up comedian.

Ortego displayed his wit (and an ability to stand up to tough industry questions on his forthcoming "seat management" solicitation) at a recent Federal Sources Inc. breakfast.Here's Ortego on the Year 2000 problem: "The Year 2000 is like smoking cigarettes. I believe it will kill you but it won't kill you this year."

He also caused a few vendors' eyes to bug out when his slide presentation showed proposals due on Dec. 27. Ortego said he knew vendors bristle when agencies ask for proposals right before the holidays."I hear you and I understand your pain " he told the crowd "so we scheduled it for between the holidays."

It turned out to be something of a practical joke. Ortego subsequently revealed proposals will be due Dec. 1.

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