Lessons learned from the government’s biggest attempt to fix tech procurement
Eric Hysen

Interesting to see your frustrations with acquisitions. Everyone I know that has worked or supported the government side, and several of us on the contractor side, can all understand where you are coming from.

On a side note, there are pockets of success with Agile development and iT software/hardware in an Agile sense. Look at JTRS. Huge government program awarded to a major contractor. Requirements stalled for years, and few radios were produced. Industry saw what was going on, and developed their own solution based upon a standard platform for radio communications. Three other companies (Harris, ITT, and Thales, I believe) then offered their self invested products back to the government.

The waveform and platforms have taken off, replacing equipment that had deficiencies (see Lone Survivor if you want to understand a bit). Now even more vendors produce JTRS compliant platforms, and governments around the world benefit from what is commodity IT.

I think the next generation IT procurement needs to focus this way. Instead of wasted billions on large GWACs (FLASH is a GWAC) and sole award acquisitions, focus a potion of those dollars on making Government subject matter experts available. Have them deliver only standards and policy, and guide agile needs. Allow anyone who can meet the security and control needs to build, on their own dime, a solution within the standards and policy, with direct feedback from the users in an Agile plan. Then, the government can select from multiple compliant vendors products that directly meet their needs, with no sunk cost, and no development programs to manage.

And is some small company in the future can do it better, cheaper, faster…then they have their shot on the next round of procurement.

Just a thought….

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