McCoy: DISA uses 'insight metrics'

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Every program manager needs to understand the contracting business, the Defense Information Systems Agency’s top program management official said today.

Diann McCoy, DISA’s component acquisition executive, said contracting is a major project management activity for which DISA collects metrics. McCoy said DISA supplements its use of traditional metrics with additional measures she called “insight metrics.” She made her comments in a speech on project metrics at the Program Management Summit in Washington, D.C.

Those are measures, for example, of a project’s fitness for those who need the capability the project is supposed to provide, McCoy said. Among the agency’s other insight metrics, DISA collects measures of the degree of risk inherent in a project and its potential for disrupting the work culture, she said.

The capabilities that DISA offers as an agency serving the Defense Department are ones that agencies look for in project managers, McCoy said. Project managers become successful, she added, by learning how to “achieve interoperability, reduce time to market, become cost efficient and reduce life cycle support costs.”

Other speakers at the summit sponsored by FCW Events included members of the Information Technology Resources Board, a group of senior federal IT, acquisition and program managers. At no charge to agencies, the board conducts independent peer reviews of major federal IT systems. “Our group has no skin in the game,” said Kay Clarey, assistant director of information systems at the Treasury Department and chairwoman of the board.

Sandra Borden, deputy chief information officer at the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs and a board member, said one of the signs that a project is in serious trouble is when senior executives are talking about new technology instead of the project's importance for the agency’s mission.

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