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The Statutory Tools of Transformation Working Together
January 13, 2010 at 4:41 pm #89140
First a definition: What do I mean when I refer to the Statutory Tools of Transformation?
I'm referring to the tools provided in 10USC2222 - a statute that only applies to the Department of Defense. These tools include Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Transition Planning, Investment Review, Annual Review and the Anti-Deficiency Act. These tools were prescribed by Congress to aid the Department of Defense with decision making relative to the development, modernization, and/or enhancement of business IT systems. They help us to manage the DoD portfolio, ensure quality, and ensure that design constraints are complied with. They are meant to help the DoD improve interoperability, reduce duplication of effort across the DoD, reduce cost on a number of different fronts, and improve agility in the DoD.
Below, you will find a decision making process diagram for your viewing pleasure. This diagram shows how the statutory tools of Transformation can work in concert to support the decision making process.
- The oval table represents decision making tables throughout the DoD.
- "Proposal teams" represent people with ideas who are seeking to produce some new capability somewhere in the DoD
- "Stakeholders" in this context, refers to people who will be affected by the actions of the Proposal Teams. These could be neighbors of the proposal teams, they could be future "users" of the proposal team's product, they could be consumers of the information produced by the proposal team's product, etc. In short, they are people who have a stake in the outcome.
- "Gatekeeper" represents a person or group of people who receive proposals and testimony, manage the schedule for the decision making table, alert staff and the public of pending proposal discussions and generally assure a well managed pipeline of discussions headed for decision makers.
- Input #1 "Advisory" represents input provided to decision makers off-line by trusted agents. This is usually a hidden process, but I make it explicit here deliberately because of it's importance to the decision making process.
- Input #2 "Proposal" represents a set of documents and solutions architecture that is configured in accordance with published rules. For example, the structure prescribed in theBTA's Business Case document. proposals are used to convey intention and to give reviewers, staffs and architects, some means to assert compliance and measure and compare approaches.
- Input #3 "Testimony" represents a refined version of stakeholder input. Users, neighbors, consumers, etc. may have something important to say about the new proposal and this input gives them a chance to be heard as the decisions are being made. This input is "refined" with assistance of the Gatekeeper into something that is easily recognizable and consumed by the decision makers.
- Input #4 "Staff Recommendation" represents a disciplined, step-by-step, repeatable process of due diligence that gets applied to all investment proposals regardless of source. This process produces a by-exception report that details the extent of compliance and alignment with the Master Plan, an analysis of historical context (what previous decisions were made about the production of the proposed capability, what money has already been spent, and who else might also be working on the same or similar capabilities elsewhere in theDoD ), and recommendations for the application of "conditions for obligation authority," modification of approach (to come into compliance), or pooling of resources with other, previously approved proposals.
- "Personnel" attached to each Decision Maker represent the current staffing arms for each decision maker. Depending on where in the DoD this decision making table is, these may be O6/GS15 equivalents who run issues to ground for flags - or other. The key difference between today's system and the proposed system in this diagram, is that each of the "Personnel" groups are drawing from the same reality - the Master Plan - versus the current system which allows them to draw from their individual (and often uncoordinated) perceptions of reality. This keeps arguments about who's reality is more real off of the decision making table and focuses the discussion on the issues. If the Master Plan is incorrect or incomplete, they act to recommend improvements.
- The "Master Plan" is a term used to describe the sum total of statutory tools (EA, ETP, etc) and otherwise provided "authoritative documents" that are consulted as a consequence of each new proposal. Due diligence is tightly coupled to these documents. And these documents survive administration changes - providing continuity for theDoD over time, regardless of who is occupying decision maker roles.
- The agenda is four items and is written into the decision making table.
- Publishing the results (either directed actions or proposed changes to the Master plan) are critical for closing the loop with the proposal teams and their stakeholders, and preparing theDoD for the next round of new proposals.
The underlying implication here is that our current decision making process has natural human limitations. When it comes to applying the hundreds of thousands of constraints (think IT design principles and standards), the complexity of our enterprise has out-paced a room full of decision maker's (and their staffs) ability to manage using legacy (let's do some staff work and then get together and chat) techniques. A decision support structure made up of supporting processes and document repositories will aid the decision makers of the future. The statute 10USC2222 was engineered to give us the ability to make a support structure like this happen.
We have the ability to support our decision makers with both a repository of information and a set of disciplined staff processes that are designed to get accurate and complete information to the decision table at the point of decision making. Enjoy!
Taken to the next level, this support structure with a Master plan at it's core is easily distributed as a coordinating mechansim throughout the DoD. Decision tables everywhere may be granted access to the same repository of information (including the portfolio of solutions) that the main DoD Decision table has access to. Decision may be better coordinated, portfolio's aligned, and issues from the field be heard and addressed by senior Department decision makers in a concerted way that has not yet been seen in the DoD.
Ignore the diagram below the "Execution" line. This diagram was designed to represent a component level process of maturing concepts into capabilities. It may be the subject of another post in the future, but not here.
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