Meeting the Challenge of Vivek Kundra's 25 Point Plan


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Meeting the Challenge of Vivek Kundra's 25 Point Plan

  1. 1. Meeting the Challenge of the 25 A considered approach to resolving the failings in the way the US Federal Government defines, selects, manages and monitors IT investments.Planet Technologies 1|Page
  2. 2. Table of ContentsI. Introduction ............................................................................................................................ 3II. Defining the Problem Space ................................................................................................... 3III. Enabling the Change ............................................................................................................... 4IV. Consistent, Transparent, Results-based Program Management ............................................ 5V. Checks and Balances ............................................................................................................... 5VI. Meeting the Challenge ............................................................................................................ 7 i. Leveraging Enterprise Agreement Assets in Attacking the Challenge ................................. 7 ii. Manage Requirements......................................................................................................... 7 iii. Manage Scope .................................................................................................................. 9 iv. Manage Resources and Monitor Performance .............................................................. 11 v. Manage User Feedback...................................................................................................... 12VII. A Conceptual Solution Architecture .................................................................................. 13 i. Overlay Process .................................................................................................................. 13 ii. Technical Architecture ....................................................................................................... 15VIII. Embracing the Challenge ................................................................................................... 15IX. Conclusion ............................................................................................................................. 16Planet Technologies 2|Page
  3. 3. I. IntroductionIn a recent memo1 from the Federal CIO, Vivek Kundra, Section A focuses on the need to lookfirst to services offered on infrastructures not owned and operated by the Federal Government,collectively termed the Cloud. Sections B, C and D deal largely with the failings in the ITplanning and management processes within US Federal Agencies that have enabled large scaleIT investments to drag on, languish, and ultimately fail at significant cost to the taxpayer. Vivekleads a call to action. The following paper lays out approaches to meeting the challenges ashighlighted in Sections B,C and D and features tools you may already own to assist withmaturing IT planning and management processes, and leverages the real world experience ofcapital planners, enterprise architects, project managers and business managers. II. Defining the Problem SpaceThe problem at the highest level is that the critical processes that enable successful IT projectdelivery have traditionally been disjointed. Business Management, Program Management,Acquisition, Budget, and Governance processes all require tight integration to streamline thetechnology cycle, not to mention the IT delivery function itself. Seamlessly integrated processesresult in a technology cycle that is more agile, delivers IT solutions faster and with a higherdegree of quality and success. However, in order for these processes to be tightly integrated itrequires each of the processes to mature collectively, not independently.Traditionally, each process is operated by an organizational unit that matures its own processwith little consideration to the impact on, and/or maturation of, other dependent processes.Federated organizations, timing, various appropriation sources, limited authority, dataverification, accountability, and independent support systems are all presented with their ownchallenges and when combined make it that much more challenging for Federal agencies tomature and integrate the critical processes.The problem space is complex and requires incremental, measured improvement to ensureprocesses are integrated and matured collectively. Defining an approach and developing asystem that impacts any single one of these work streams will not deliver the necessaryimprovements nor will it enable the mandated visibility. The solution needs to be able to beintegrated into the work processes and systems of multiple, historically stove-piped domains,whilst enabling centralized storage and analytics to inform oversight activities.1 Technologies 3|Page
  4. 4. III. Enabling the ChangeThe changes required to mature the processes inherent in Business Management, ProgramManagement, Acquisition, Budget, Governance, and IT Management collectively and integratethe processes seamlessly can only be enabled through the consistent application of rationalized/ normalized resources (technology and people), applied consistently throughout the entiretyof the technology lifecycle. The technology lifecycle, at a fundamental level encompasses  Identification of a business need.  Research into and evaluation of alternative technical solutions.  Selection of a proposed solution.  Application for authority to procure (through IT selection boards or through the use of discretionary funding).  Issuance of a solicitation.  Evaluation of bids and source selection.  Project commencement / deployment.  Steady state operations.  Migrations/upgrades (potentially)  Ultimately decommissioning and retirement.Management of a solution from pre-selection through, at minimum, full productiondeployment into a steady operating state can only be achieved through cross processmonitoring and measurement. Achieving this application of the management resourcesconsistently requires a combination of a top-down and bottom-up approach.The top-down approach requires organization unit /agency buy-in, cooperation, and theevaluation of the performance of senior leaders based on their ability to drive this maturation.The bottom-up approach requires an analysis of support systems, alignment of procedures andtiming, and rationalization and verification of the data to be shared between processes.Federal agencies have options when it comes to enabling the changes required to achieve amore effective and efficient technology cycle. The common resources and skills required totransform and execute can either come from internal sources, internal sources with support ofexternal vendors, or from external vendors managed by internal sources. To determine theoption that is most effective for an organization requires an unbiased assessment of theresources available to the agency. This organizational assessment is the first step to enable thechange.Planet Technologies 4|Page
  5. 5. IV. Consistent, Transparent, Results-based Program ManagementProgram Management is the common thread throughout the technology lifecycle, frommanaging requirements on the front end, managing scope and resources throughoutdevelopment, monitoring performance throughout, and managing user feedback onceoperational. Each of these activities are not stand alone, nor do they take place at one singularpoint in time, but rather each of these works hand in hand and are constantly impacting oneanother. Program Management Manage Requirements Manage Scope Manage Resources and Monitor Performance Manage User Feedback Architect Invest Implement Operate Improvement Lifecycle Performance Select Preselect Select Implement Operate Decommission Segment to Authorization Authorization Authorization Authorization Authorization Architect Figure 1: Program Management Functions and the Performance Improvement LifecycleThe alignment of Acquisition, Budget, and Governance processes with Program Managementcreates additional complexities but that can be simplified through clear definition of the handoffs and timing required. Through the use of technologies that most agencies already own,forms and workflows can be established to facilitate the hand offs and data exchanges,notifications, alerts, and warnings can be established to ensure the required timing is beingadhered to, and performance can be measured to further refine the integration.As Federal agencies undertake the organizational assessment described in Section B of the 25Point Plan, it is imperative that the maturity of the Program Management, Acquisition, Budget,and Governance resources be considered as a whole. Incrementally defining and implementingrequirements to integrate each of the processes will produce results quickly in the near termand consistently over the long term. V. Checks and BalancesTechnology programs within the Federal Government often go off track when the appropriatecontrols are not in place to ensure consistent and un-biased measurement of program andresource performance. Through the establishment of a common assessment system designedto facilitate the Program Management function, it is possible to begin to establish authoritativePlanet Technologies 5|Page
  6. 6. data points/sources with clear traceability to programmatic delivery. In addition, it provides thebasis through which individual and group resource performance can also be measured. The keyto truly benefitting from a systematic, data driven approach can only be achieved when weanticipate that any system of performance measurement will, inherently, be susceptible to‘gaming’ or manipulation in either inadvertent subtle, or obvious and egregious ways. Thesystem of measurement and transparency must be designed with checks and balances toaccommodate check for and correct these inconsistencies.As an example let us examine a common scenario. If an agency decides to develop or directlyhire program management resources, there is inherent risk of program managers “goingnative” if they are left to manage their program for extended periods of time. The term “GoingNative”, originating in diplomatic circles, describes a scenario in which a neutral observerbegins to have sentiments of sympathy and alignment to the cause of those being monitored. Itis the reason Diplomatic appointments are changed on a regular basis.In a program management scenario in which the program manager is inherently responsible forsuccessful oversight of a program or project to its conclusion, the temptation to report tomanagement that the program is on-schedule, or to be optimistic about schedule slippagebeing recovered by crashing the schedule is extremely high. As a result, it is frequently not untila program is irretrievably behind that management or executive oversight learns the truth.To mitigate the “going native” risk, it is necessary to have the program managers managedifferent programs on fixed timetable, moving them with a pre-determined frequency. Doing somitigates one risk, but also presents additional challenges, in that it requires each program andeach program manager to adhere to a common set of standards and enforceable controls sothat each program manager can be swapped out seamlessly.Conversely, if the government agency decides to outsource their program managementresources, it requires that the agency be willing to establish the necessary internal structuresand controls. The contract vehicles themselves need to have due diligence applied to ensurethe service levels built into the contracts provide indicators that: 1. The contractors are adhering to agency standards. 2. The contractors are delivering services in accordance with planned cost and schedule. 3. The contractors themselves are not being adversely influenced working so close with the projects themselves.Ultimately, Program Managers need to be responsible for helping guide the program towards asuccessful outcome. Equally as important, they must be aware of and fully understand theescalating program issues that could ultimately result in programmatic failure.Planet Technologies 6|Page
  7. 7. VI. Meeting the ChallengeFigure 1 on page five, identifies the key work streams within program management and theiralignment with an ongoing performance management lifecycle. Analysis of precisely defineddata points such as milestones in delivery, deadlines, budgetary cycles and fiscal indicators,(including burn rate) from the project level, understood in the context of an IT program,enables critical oversight at a project level while also providing the visibility necessary formanaging dependencies and true overarching programmatic performance. Alignment of thetwo work streams and the practical unification of their actions through consistent andnormalized data driven project and portfolio analysis is the central tenant that must befollowed if we are to effectively manage the delivery of a continuous improvement of theservices provided by IT. The establishment of a technical solution to centralize the collection ofthe data to support the analysis will provide the keystone that supports these programmanagement functions. Clear visibility into their interactions provides a foundation throughwhich program management as a whole can begin to mature collectively.This foundation is imperative to provide the long-term stability on which processes andprocedures can be developed and refined over time. Furthermore, the interdependenciesbetween each of the program management functions (Requirements, Scope, Resources andPerformance, and Feedback) demand a consistent but flexible central collection node that canbegin with simple milestones and as the IT program management methodologies discussedwithin the CTO’s plan are defined by OMB the system can be incrementally improved andaugmented to ensure constancy with the requirements of both legislative mandate andcommon best-practice. i. Leveraging Enterprise Agreement Assets in Attacking the ChallengeMost Federal Agencies have a significant investment in Microsoft technologies acquiredthrough an Enterprise Agreement. Enterprise Agreements contain a large number of products,many of which tightly integrate together delivering rich functionality across platforms that canbe utilized either through a web browser or through the Microsoft Office Suite of Productsincluding Outlook through E-Mail. The interface is familiar to end users and management of theplatform is something with which technical resources have demonstrated expertise. Within thesections that follow, a table at the end of each section will highlight the product / productcombinations that most Federal Agencies own and how they can facilitate the process orproject, program and performance management integration. ii. Manage RequirementsAlthough the management of all IT system projects demands requirements management as themost fundamental of all functions for the successful delivery of a new or augmented service, itis often the most overlooked. As a result of internal politics, policy or interpretation of the FAR,Planet Technologies 7|Page
  8. 8. Federal agencies are often faced with the challenge of defining needs whilst having to remain atarm’s length from the very people from which they need to collect the requirements. Thisfundamental challenge often results in the development of requirements that are fragmentedor incomplete, or a set of requirements without the context of the customer or business need.This can be exacerbated by the requirement to fit a system purchase within a pre-determinedbudgetary cycle. Commencing your processes based on identified business need in April forexample, will mean you have a very short period of time into which you can squeeze all of thesteps that due diligence requires, forcing the rushed interpretation or total disregard for actualbusiness and end user requirements. The result has been systems that at best are delivered in atimely manner but suffer poor adoption and end user satisfaction rates, ultimately beingreplaced or growing so considerably in scope that the time and money spent fixing the systemto what it should have been in the first place eclipses the original build cost.The management of requirements begins during the ‘Architect’ stage of the performanceimprovement lifecycle and prior to the start of the System Development Lifecycle, but is anongoing (oft overlooked) function with dependencies between the other functions of theprogram. The management of requirements is comprised of the following activities: 1. Collect and Define – Collaborate with the customer(s) to identify and explicitly define the technical requirements of the technical solution. Requirements should be fully defined for the establishment of the program / technical solution scope. As the program evolves and the technical solution is deployed to the customer(s), the ongoing collection and definition of requirements needs to occur. 2. Analyze – Review the customer(s) requirements to identify similarities, redundancies, or gaps between them. As new requirements are identified during either the development of the technical solution or post-deployment, those requirements need to be analyzed against existing documented requirements or already fulfilled requirements. 3. Update – Based on the results of the analysis, prioritization, or additional program management functions, requirements may need to be consolidated, eliminated, or enhanced. 4. Prioritize – During the ‘Architect’ stage of the performance improvement lifecycle, requirements are prioritized to determine those that will be developed and implemented in the technical solution for the customers. This prioritization can be formalized in a manner that takes into account customer value, risk, or other factors.After the requirements are prioritized, the set of requirements now forms the basis of thescope. At this point the management of the requirements does not end, but rather it continuesthroughout the lifecycle of the technical solution. For instance, as the solution is beingPlanet Technologies 8|Page
  9. 9. developed, the scope may shift or change. A change in scope could require that a particularrequirement not be met in the first iteration of the solution.The gathering of requirements and proposal of solutions to defined business problems shouldbe driven by what we term a solution map. A solution map develops the real cost analysis forthe delivery of a given solution including all cost elements comprising hardware, software,maintenance fees, services (consulting and technical) and ongoing costs. Inclusion of all of theactual cost elements and visibility thereof in the authorization process of any proposed ITproject is vital if an informed, duly diligent judgment is to be made as to the most advantageousmanner in which to solve the business need or problem at hand. Whilst acknowledgement ofthe internal expertise on hand to maintain and operate a proposed system should be weighedin the process, personal preferences for a particular technical platform, vendor or solutionprovider should not weigh into the decision making process.Specific to the development of a solution map the following products provide functionality thatnaturally supports the collection of the data to inform accurate pricing and for the developmentof project timelines and milestones.Product Integrated? Leveraged CapabilitiesMicrosoft SharePoint Yes Collaboration, Excel Services, Electronic Forms, Dash- boarding, Alert and NotificationProject Server Yes Project Plan Development, Milestone DefinitionPortfolio Server Yes Project Plan Integration, Resource and Dependency ManagementMicrosoft Office Yes E-mail, and Spreadsheet integration Table 1: Requirements Management ProductsA description of the use-case for the components listed above appears with a conceptualarchitecture at the conclusion of this paper. iii. Manage ScopeScope Management is critical for programs. The program itself may be ever evolving, making itthat much more critical that the scope is managed on an ongoing basis in order to containcosts, schedule, and ensure that the planned deliverables are realized. Scope creep (program orproduct) is one of the primary reasons for federal IT projects languishing without deliveringresults. To effectively contain scope, it is essential that requirements are detailed, customerneeds are managed, milestones and delivery dates are set and the developers have a clearunderstanding of how the requirements are to be fulfilled by the technical solution.Scope is initially developed during the ‘Invest’ stage of the Performance Improvement Lifecycle,but is managed throughout the System Development Lifecycle and is impacted based on any ofthe other program management functions. The agreed upon scope ultimately results in thePlanet Technologies 9|Page
  10. 10. identified cost and schedule elements detailed in the project plan. Scope management, likerequirements management has similar activities that are performed and should be thoroughlydocumented and managed before any solution is selected and proposed to the IT controlorganization. Buying software is not the full cost of the solution, the hardware platformrequired and the time and technical expertise that will be required from at-cost externalsupport must also be considered before a valid evaluation and selection can realistically delivera best value solution.It is understood that during the development of the technical solution unforeseencircumstances may arise that will necessitate modification decisions regarding scope to bemade. For example, if it is discovered that performance is not adequate (and is a primary(highest priority) requirement of the overall solution), some of the development costs mayneed to be re-allocated to upgrade physical hardware or underlying network infrastructure. Inthis and many other similar cases, the scope or the program and product need to be activelymanaged and adjusted accordingly with any resultant shifts in delivery timeframe or budgetbeing clearly understood, communicated and recorded.Scope is what defines the cost and schedule that are required. To this end, it is imperative thatit is managed accordingly and communicated actively to ensure that any projects or programswith dependencies upon the new systems can, in turn, understand any ramifications. Aconsideration here must be what the consequences will be regarding decisions of how andwhere to invest within the other components of the IT portfolio if disruptive scope changesoccur.For example, consider the impact if an organization develops requirements, has the alternativesanalyzed, makes a selection, has a budget submitted and approved, and makes an award for anorganization to outsource their messaging platform in order to realize tangible cost savings onowning and running physical infrastructure. If that award is protested by a disgruntled vendor,essentially stopping anticipated savings from being realized, the entire IT budget and portfolioof services will be seriously impacted and must be re-evaluated in light of the fact that the costof running the existing infrastructure will not go away as planned but, will instead, be ongoingwhilst the legal battle ensues. This change in reality must be updated and reflected in theprogram level budgets and may well result in other previously approved IT projects being moth-balled or outright cancelled, but regardless of how difficult this impact is, it must be visible andmust be managed.The following Microsoft products provide functionality that naturally supports the managementof scope to ensure that the program / project are poised to successfully deliver an agreed uponset of business requirements.Planet Technologies 10 | P a g e
  11. 11. Product Integrated? Leveraged CapabilitiesMicrosoft SharePoint Yes Collaboration, Excel Services, Electronic Forms, Dash- boarding, Alert and NotificationProject Server Yes Project Plan Development, Milestone DefinitionPortfolio Server Yes Project Plan Integration, Resource and Dependency ManagementMicrosoft Office Yes E-mail, and Spreadsheet integration Table 2: Scope Management Products iv. Manage Resources and Monitor PerformanceAs the technical solution is developed and implemented within the ‘Implement’ stage of thePerformance Improvement Lifecycle, resources and their performance need to be managed andmonitored to ensure they are delivering in line with the project delivery plan and milestonesthat were laid out in the IT solution evaluation and selection stage. This methodology allowssignificantly better assessment of actual delivery against a performance based contract.It is understood that financial, equipment, human capital and other resources related to thedevelopment and delivery of the solution can all be negatively impacted in a moment’s noticefor any number of reasons. What is important is that the resulting effect on the program arethoroughly understood and accurately conveyed in a timely manner so that decisions onprogram/project continuance, accommodation of change or derailing it altogether can be madelong before a program/project falls into a state in which it languishes and drags on without arealistic chance of recovery or successUnderstanding the implications an issue with resources or their performance may have on bothscope and requirements is imperative. It enables the program to adjust accordingly to ensurethe program is able to press forward in the face of adversity and that deliverable(s) continue tobe produced effectively and efficiently.The project plan itself is a fundamental starting point for managing cost, schedule, and humancapital; however, a complete solution offers visibility into other aspects of the program as well,such as additional project resources, the performance of all resources, and the dependencieswith other programs, projects and management functions.A solution that enables the program manager visibility into all of the resources, their respectiveperformance, and the scope and requirements they each are related to, provides a holistic viewinto the program. This view can assist with course correcting in much shorter time frames, thusalleviating compounding risks to the program. The following Microsoft products providefunctionality that naturally supports the management and monitoring of cost, schedule,resources, performance, and their dependencies.Planet Technologies 11 | P a g e
  12. 12. Product Integrated? Leveraged CapabilitiesMicrosoft SharePoint Yes Collaboration, Excel Services, Electronic Forms, Dash- boarding, Alert and NotificationProject Server Yes Project Plan Development, Milestone DefinitionPortfolio Server Yes Project Plan Integration, Resource and Dependency ManagementMicrosoft Office Yes E-mail, and Spreadsheet integration Table 3: Resource and Performance Management Products v. Manage User FeedbackUpon successfully delivering the technical solution to the customers, the program still has anobligation to the customer and the program itself to collect user feedback. Feedback is criticalto ensure that the deliverable has met the requirements as they were defined by the customersup front and to provide insight into potentially new requirements. In technology terms UserAcceptance Testing (UAT) can deliver an initial adjustment to the program pre-delivery but asthe real world of work is changed through the systems new and efficient functionality end userswill inevitably have modifications, additional functionalities and other comments that will provevaluable in optimizing and improving the system. Furthermore changes in the legislativemandates the system addresses may well also require accommodation.User feedback is a key input into the requirements management function. Collecting thefeedback can be accomplished through various means, including, online surveys, formalizedmeetings, etc. Once collected, an analysis of the feedback against the existing requirements,scope, and functionality of the technical solution determine what action is necessary. Forexample, in the event that the user indicates that the solution is slow, a review of the networkmight be called for. In the event that the user feels that the solution is missing a piece offunctionality, a review of the requirements and scope may be called for.Ultimately, the challenge is always the balance between the customers’ needs, the cost to meetthe needs (if in fact they are unmet), and the available resources. The program as a whole,having just been moved into operations at this point, can be derailed due to negative feedbackfrom users.For example, users may be reluctant to adopt the new solution. They may not have the skill setto be able to leverage the technology without training. Having a good understanding of theusers and an understanding of how their original needs were met with the solution delivered,empowers the program to mature its relationship with its customers. The following Microsoftproducts provide functionality that naturally supports the collection, analysis and managementof user feedback.Planet Technologies 12 | P a g e
  13. 13. Product Integrated? Leveraged CapabilitiesMicrosoft SharePoint Yes Collaboration, Excel Services, Electronic Forms, Dash- boarding, Alert and NotificationProject Server Yes Project Plan Development, Milestone DefinitionPortfolio Server Yes Project Plan Integration, Resource and Dependency ManagementMicrosoft Office Yes E-mail, and Spreadsheet integration Table 4: User Feedback Management Products VII. A Conceptual Solution ArchitectureWithin this whitepaper we have laid out the challenges and a real world proposed methodologyfor unifying the four disparate processes through which acquisition and deployment of ITsolutions occurs within the Federal Government. What we will now add is a process/proceduraloverlay that straddles and unifies the currently stove-piped process work streams and offers aconceptual technical architecture that can enable management of the process and visibility intothe results. i. Overlay ProcessImmediate re-alignment and coordination of Program Management, Acquisition, Budget,Governance and IT Management is not realistically going to happen magically overnight. Theonly way to accomplish realistic short term and incremental long term gains is through aprocess of procedural accommodation and loose system interconnection.If we take the steps of the acquisition process as laid out in the table below we can align thetools available and the method in which they are employed to demonstrate a coherent, quicklydeployable approach. Process Step Tools Utilization MethodIdentification of a  SharePoint InfoPath Business Units submit requirements for functionality orbusiness need. Form Services support and suggested solutions to the IT organization utilizing browser agnostic web based forms that are received into an e- mail enabled SharePoint list that is managed and monitored by the IT team and the IT Investment Review board.Research into and  SharePoint Project Information pertaining to proposed solutions is collected intoevaluation of Collaboration Site review sites in SharePoint where it is centrally discussed andalternative technical  Project Server assessed. Project plans detailing the typical estimatedsolutions. deployment timeline and support requirement for each proposed solution are developed by vendors in a standardized Microsoft Project Template and submitted as part of the review process.Selection of a  SharePoint The IT review board (or other such assessment authority),proposed solution. Collaboration Site reviews the proposed solutions and accompanying and Surveys documentation in advance of the decision making meeting or meeting date, post questions and discussion points and review the existing IT portfolio to check for any existing solutionsPlanet Technologies 13 | P a g e
  14. 14. Process Step Tools Utilization Method within the portfolio that could address the defined need. The final decision to move forward with an investment can be made in person, or using SharePoint approval workflows to enable decisions to be made without the need to wait for an arbitrary meeting date.Application for  SharePoint InfoPath Upon selection/approval the InfoPath form submitted as theauthority to procure Form Services initial request is advanced into the initial procurement process(through IT selection  Project Server with the data elements such as the name of the software, theboards or through milestones in the deployment timeline et cetera, beingthe use of provided in a simple form for review and utilization by thediscretionary procuring authority. If acquisition is amenable and thefunding). procurement system accepts data imports, the form data can be posted directly into the system removing data entry inconsistencies. Having an industry best-practice project plan for the deployment of the solution including major milestones and project phases calculated in business day increments allows for much more effective firm fixed price and performance based contract development.Issuance of a  SharePoint Draft solicitations and the process of reviewing and approvingsolicitation.  Agency them before they are issued, and the receipt and analysis of Procurement bids can all be improved through the use of SharePoint System Collaboration Sites.Evaluation of bids  SharePoint The sites can be used by those preparing and vetting the RFPand source selection. Collaboration Site pre-release but can also be used as a centralized repository of responses that the evaluation committee can review, discuss and decide upon.Project  Project Server Upon approval and selection of a bidders submission thecommencement /  Project Portfolio project plan developed in the cost and level of effort modelingdeployment. Server can now move into the portfolio of ongoing projects and be  SharePoint managed and monitored as such. Achievement of major Collaboration, Dash- milestones and project gateways can be monitored by an boarding and assigned program manager and, as it is stored as data Analytics centrally, can be reviewed at any time within the context of the overall IT portfolio. Centralization of the management process also enables the transition smoothly of program management responsibility between individual program managers to guard against “going native”. Furthermore the management of IT Program Manager assignment cycling can be managed as a timed workflow in SharePoint, thus regulating the change-over activity.Steady state  SharePoint Surveys SharePoint surveys can allow the collection of feedback andoperations. end user commentary on the new system either through the use of surveys, the collection of e-mails requests and criticism can be used to assist in the ongoing improvement of the system in all elements.Migrations/upgrades  Project Server and Project Planning and the thorough collaboration with all(potentially) SharePoint dependent system componentsUltimatelydecommissioning andretirement.Planet Technologies 14 | P a g e
  15. 15. ii. Technical ArchitectureThe three principal technical components mentioned throughout this paper, namely MicrosoftSharePoint Server (2010), Microsoft Project, Microsoft Project and Portfolio Server and theunderpinnings (Active Directory, Exchange (or another e-mail platform) and Microsoft Office),are already within the IT Portfolio by most Federal Agencies and in the spirit of the FederalCTO’s 25 point plan leveraging what you already own, either on premise, or in a cloudconfiguration to help solve the challenges of budget and transparency is a paramount. Thecomponents listed require little (or no), integration effort as they are built on a commondevelopment platform and as such handling and merging data between project plans, across aportfolio of investments, managing resources and managing budgets can all occur in the toolsfamiliar to the end user community. In addition, the use of Microsoft SharePoint as anunderlying platform enables support of the IT Program Manager Development track byproviding a unifying centralized resource point for the training materials in video, text,PowerPoint, PDF, and image format. Management of the training track and individualized viewsof progress through a pre-determined set of curricula are all well proven functionalities ofSharePoint and as a result the single platform delivers high value through provision of multiplefunctional benefits in a truly cross browser, end-point agnostic manner. VIII. Embracing the ChallengeAs described above, the challenges faced by Federal agencies today are not new. They arecomplex and multi-dimensional. Measuring performance, mitigating risk, and achievingincremental successes are not only necessary for the technology programs themselves, but alsofor the development of the program management function at each agency.A foundational platform to support program management, regardless of the approach taken toimplement the function at an agency is critical. There are such tight dependencies betweenrequirements, scope, resources, and the customer that it is necessary to manage thedependencies explicitly. Manually trying to manage requirements, scope, resources, and thecustomer ultimately results in something slipping through the cracks. A solution is needed thatis designed to support program management and the dependencies between each functionthat provides a foundation through which the functions of program management can bematured collectively.As our nation is faced with extremely tight fiscal constraints, it is our duty to embrace thischallenge to ensure that the money being spent on IT is being spent effectively, efficiently, andis delivering results. The change will not happen overnight, but establishing a solid foundationto drive maturation and integration will undoubtedly benefit the delivery of technology in thefederal government for years to come.Planet Technologies 15 | P a g e
  16. 16. IX. ConclusionAddressing the challenges posed to all of us by Vivek’s 25 is going take a significant change inhow we work together as IT professionals, Acquisition Specialists, Budget and ComplianceExperts and Project management professionals. This challenge should not be used as an excuseto buy even more, large standalone systems, pay a great deal for their integration and try toreform and unify our processes, that approach is indicative of what got IT programmanagement in this mess to begin with. The tools to facilitate the change are already within theIT portfolios of most US Federal Agencies, are familiar and often used by existing staff acrossthe different affected disciplines and can be enacted in a tightly, or loosely integrated fashiondepending on the individual cultural preferences of the agencies involved. The key to success issimply the normalization of the data points to be monitored across the fivedomains/organizations and due diligence in keeping that data up to date. As a follow-up to thiswhite paper, Planet Technologies will be releasing form templates, common sample dataelements and definitions, and project templates that Government Agencies can download andtailor to assist in getting the process started.Planet Technologies 16 | P a g e