It’s the time of year when many of us take stock of the last 12 months and vow to improve next year. We will be smarter, more organized, perhaps even try something new. The numerous Integrity Matters articles written by our on-the-ground experts in 2014 provide a leg up for the New Year. They contain excellent ideas for those involved in acquisition, contract management, and program management – including federal employees and those in industry who support them.
Here is a round-up of ideas that will help your teams and programs succeed in 2015 and beyond. Click on the italicized article titles for more on each topic.
Tools for Federal Teams: Every agency has its own practices and required documentation. However, there are fundamental approaches and tools that can make programs more successful. We outline five:
- Requirements Development is Key to Successful Software Development Crucial to any requirements development process is the documentation of needs. We look at why that’s so important and two processes to achieve it in software development acquisition: the Functional Description and the Software Requirements Specification.
- The Double Down Strategy of Contract Management Risk Adverse situations can cause schedule delays, cost growth, performance degradation, and other intangibles which can have a negative impact on the success of a program. Being aware of risks and developing a risk mitigation strategy early in the contract lifecycle, prevents risks from becoming crises. Here’s how.
- With a Great Contract Management Plan, the Sky is the Limit A Contract Management Plan (CMP) is a key document guiding the coordinated efforts of the contract management team throughout the term of the contract. Not all agencies use them, but here are three reasons why they’re important, and 11 questions the CMP should ask and answer.
- Are You Making the Business Case for Federal Cybersecurity? The next two months are critical for agencies to ask and answer the question, “Does our agency’s IT program make the budget case to justify cybersecurity spending? Here’s why the development of a business case through the Capital Planning and Investment Control (CPIC) process matters.
- Better Acquisition Decisions Through Financial Analysis With budget cuts and sequestration, there is greater pressure to spend taxpayer dollars in the most cost effective way, and to justify and obtain funding. With rigorous financial analysis and accurate reporting, this challenge becomes less of an obstacle. This two-part article provides a deep dive on financial analysis tools and three federal frameworks that use them (ARP, PPBE, CPIC).
- Get off the Lessons Learned Treadmill – Simple Ideas for Continuous Improvement Does your program keep repeating the same lessons learned or mistakes? Simple steps requiring little time investment will allow program managers to bring continuous improvement to their programs’ operations.
Tools for Government Contractor Teams: It is imperative that consultants for the federal government provide high-quality service that helps agencies meet their missions. We look at several ways to make government contractor teams more effective.
- A Three-Step Process for Quickly Getting Your Team Up to Speed When the whole team isn’t available on Day One, this approach can help a team hit the ground running. Part II provides three examples of training scenarios project managers can use to teach team members the nuances of the services they provide.
- How an Integrated Master Schedule Can Avert Program Management Disaster Is there a tool you could implement on Day 1 to prevent surprises and drop-dead deadlines from hitting by Day 14 of a new contract? Yes! The IMS, one of the most important tools in a Program Manager’s toolbox.
- Gold Plating vs. Value Engineering – Recognize the Difference for Smoother Project Management There is a proper and an improper way to introduce new features in a project. It’s crucial to understand the difference between value engineering versus what’s known as gold plating.
New Trend – Agile Acquisition: A new trend in acquisition – applying the modular method of “Agile” software development using daily meetings and lessons learned – is more productive than acquisition support done the “old way” because it utilizes necessary resources when and where they are required and brings accountability and traceability to the acquisition process. Our three articles cover Agile Acquisition from end to end:
- Applying Agile Methodologies to Acquisition Support – the Basics We outline the basic components, participants and functions of the Agile acquisition framework.
- Agile Acquisition Support – the Benefits We describe potential positive outcomes such as cross-team collaboration, ongoing status updates, and full-lifecycle knowledge transfer.
- Agile Acquisition Support – Real-World Considerations Implementing a new approach among teams used to traditional methods has its challenges. Based on our own experience, we look at four areas to consider.
We hope these articles will help your teams succeed over the next year. Let us know what tools you use for project and program success.
Subscribe to the Integrity Matters blog for more ideas in 2015 (RSS button upper right corner of page). Also check out the Integrity website for white papers and presentations on topics in our core service areas of acquisition, program management, investment and budget management, logistics, and training.