FIRE is Hot in DC


Lt Col Dan Ward has been a guest several times on CHAOS Tuesday. During these sessions we discussed FIRE and its adoption in Project Delivery. He has written and published a book. FIRE: Fast, Inexpensive, Restrained, and Elegant Methods Ignite Innovation (Dan Ward; Harper Business, 2014) documents further results and provides an introduction to FIRE tools, practices, and principles. Well we can all be excited to know that between Standish Group articles, CHAOS TUESDAY, and Dan Ward’s book on FIRE the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released a new paper to government and military program managers on innovative contracting. One of the several of the methods they describe, along with Agile, is the FIRE approach!

The government wants (Rapid Technology Prototyping) the ability to rapidly and inexpensively assess new technologies. To accomplish this they propose multiple, small, fast, and inexpensive acquisitions developing prototypes with demonstrating various scenarios. This approach will allow users to try out the functions early. Microprojects! Sound familiar! Challenge the vendors by having them go head to head to provide a working prototype or technology. Then award the project to the vendor that provides the best working solution. Another important aspect of the paper is that they now want to “manage failure”. Failure can be good, it can save money. The Standish Group has been saying for several years that failure early on can be the best learning curve and ultimately lead to a better more successful outcome for any size organization.

“Engaging the End Users and potential end users should be engaged as early as possible, and the end users should be the main participants in identifying the problems/requirements. End users should be identified from among the subject matter experts and power users in an office.” This was taken verbatim from their paper. Wow!  Additionally, they have included many of the long standing preaching’s of the Standish Group. It calls for the establishment of small teams using Agile for small projects or microprojects. It also includes as they call it “Prizes” or as we call them incentives to project team members for getting a project completed on time, under budget, and user accepted.

The paper is really long, but my take away from it is this: someone in Washington DC is listening to the Standish Group, CHAOS TUESDAY and reading the CHAOS Chronicles.  If you would like a copy of the paper, please write to Jennifer Lynch: with the tagline: innovative contracting.


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About the Author:


Jim Crear

Jim is the chief information officer and architect for The Standish Group International. He is an experienced executive with over 40 years of experience in the field of Information Technology. He has had a diverse career leading IT organizations in academia, biomedical, manufacturing, and software companies.

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