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Tightening the Reins

April 1, 1999 alaurent@govexec.com he 1996 Clinger-Cohen information technology management reform law gave the Office of Management and Budget authority to designate agencies as executive agents for governmentwide IT acquisition. OMB is using the designations to impose business rules on governmentwide IT contracts. In a Jan. 25 letter designating the Transportation Department as...

The Buying Business

April 1, 1999 alaurent@govexec.com riving to their Washington offices in mid-September 1996, federal program managers listening to radio shock jock Howard Stern might have been jolted by an advertisement aimed directly at them. It was an invitation to grab end-of-the-fiscal-year savings by buying information technology services and equipment using two new governmentwide acquisition...

OMB tightens reins on technology contracts

February 23, 1999 alaurent@govexec.com The Office of Management and Budget is tightening the reins on governmentwide information technology contracts. In a Jan. 25 letter, OMB Director Jacob Lew revealed that OMB has begun a two-year evaluation of the need for government-wide acquisition contracts (GWACs). GWACs allow agencies to issue task and delivery orders...

Stacking Up

February 1, 1999 alaurent@govexec.com f it's true that what gets measured gets done, then the Government Performance Project should prod top government officials to do more to improve management in federal agencies. The Alan K. Campbell Public Affairs Institute of Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and Government Executive undertook...

Extreme Measures

February 1, 1999 alaurent@govexec.com overnment has gone measurement crazy. Washington's crawling with consultants eager to help agencies organize their outcomes, mend their metrics and balance their scorecards. Congress has gone grade happy. Nary an agency plan hits the street before Congress assesses, evaluates, ranks and reports on it. Once rule-bound federal agencies are...

Agencies ordered to ensure competition in contracts

October 16, 1998 alaurent@govexec.com The Clinton administration is lowering the boom on contracts that allow agencies to direct their business to favored contractors without competition. A proposed rule published in the Sept. 9 Federal Register prohibits agencies from steering task orders issued under multiple award contracts, especially governmentwide acquisition contracts (GWACs). While the...

Lockheed tightens its lock on space

October 2, 1998 alaurent@govexec.com From now on, when NASA's astronauts want to phone home, they'll have to do it through federal contracting giant Lockheed Martin. The firm, which already maintains NASA space shuttles in a joint venture with Boeing North America, has won a $3.4 billion, five-year contract to manage all NASA's communications,...

The Best-Laid Plans

September 1, 1998 alaurent@govexec.com here's a long-standing belief that well-made plans can nearly assure project success. A finely crafted plan is supposed to include a clearly stated project summary spelling out objectives, assumptions and risks. It details project milestones and includes charts breaking out project tasks and showing how each task relates to...

Project Traps

September 1, 1998 alaurent@njdc.com There's a host of holes on the road to any successful project. Here's a guide to the pitfalls, along with tips for avoiding them. Mistaking half-baked ideas for viable projects. Organizations must filter ideas to sift the doable from the ridiculous. Dictating unrealistic deadlines. Don't drive every project by...

On Time, At Cost

September 1, 1998 alaurent@govexec.com ime and money are running out on agencies that handle projects and programs the old-fashioned way. It's a painfully familiar road that often has led to ruin: Congress passes a law, something changes, a crisis occurs, or the top brass get an inspiration. Executives send a project idea down...