|This post was originally published on cpsrenewal.ca.|
the Government Never Gets Tech Right. Johnson also lampooned current procurement models, and noted the dismal (~6%) success rates for large IT projects.
support elsewhere: in the UK, “70% of IT spending between 1997 and 2010 went to just seven (!) companies.”
goes one further and calls for hiring reform as well, to allow “in house strategy, design, and tech”, which is one of the other common threads: Howard and Vinton laud initiatives such as the Presidential Innovation Fellows and entrepreneurs-in-residence, and Headd calls for more “makers and hackers” in government as the path forward.
“The president should use the power of the White House to end all large information technology purchases, and instead give his administration’s accomplished technologists the ability to work with agencies to make the right decisions, increase adoption of modern, incremental software development practices, like a popular
one called Agile.”
Building on that, one of the major themes that these authors’ admonishments drive at is that we shouldn’t pretend that we can establish clear requirements for IT at a singular point in a procurement cycle. Flexibility and in-house talent are essential for managing a world in which that assumption, rightfully, breaks down.
In sum, the messaging is this: don’t invest in highways with no exits. (And make sure you have someone to tell you when you need to use them.)
The Digital Analog Divide
Many companies failed to make the transition, and the Fortune 500 list looks very different now because of it. Government faced no such competition: it’s still standing, applying a procurement model that worked for furniture – with 20-40 year lifespans – to technology that becomes economically obsolete at least ten times quicker.
Do governments have the appropriate foundations for a technology-enabled world?
Have governments reached the limits to outsourcing?
To what extent are procurement and hiring models influencing governments’ effectiveness?