440 Davis Court #1602
San Francisco, CA 94111-2496
415 781 5700

July 30, 2001

03 00050 61 01073001

Mr. Stuart Harrow
Manufacturing & Production Field Service Representative
Contract Operations Field Support Mid-Atlantic
Defense Contract Management Agency
Long Island
Mid-Atlantic Sector
605 Stewart Avenue
Garden City, NY 11530

Subject:   SDS Enables Good Management

Dear Stuart,

Thanks very much for your letter confirming follow up actions from our call this morning. The more we write, the better we understand what we don't know, and are alerted to investigate. So your letter today makes progress possible. Our goal should be to engage a widening circle of people to think along with us, through writing, about how to improve the work. We need to both talk and then write about our ideas.

Not sure I follow your idea about contacting DSMC.

ISO and PMBOK both have adequate guidance for daily management, as we discussed today.

SDS is a technology for implementing good management, as called out in any standard DCMA uses, including FAR, other regulations and statutes. For example, PMBOK and ISO management guidance require traceability to original sources, also, called an "audit trail". Undoubtedly, FAR, other regulations and DCMA policy and procedure expressly call for similar practices.

You have observed through direct experience the past few months that SDS enables traceability to original sources, summarized in POIMS as the practice of "alignment," which is one element of SDS "intelligence" explained in POIMS under Knowledge Space.

Unless you hire a bunch of auditors, as NASA and JPL are reported to have done, at least for awhile, following the crash of the Columbia Space Shuttle in 1986 (see report on October 21, 1992), then SDS is the only cost effective way to accomplish this requirement, because 1 person with SDS can do as much as 10 - 100 people using traditional methods. Based on our telecon this morning, the challenge is not to improve management training at DSMC, but to enable contracting officers, managers and commanders to carry out good management practices already what is being taught by DSMC.

You point out that people view SDS as a "whole new way of working," and that we need a bridge to help people understand and transition from current practice to working with SDS. I agree, but caution that the main thing that is "new" is implementing what is already being taught at DSMC, and what is called out by accepted standards and required by regulations. See for example the meeting at Intel on June 3, 1997, discussing SDS makes possible what everybody already knows they should be doing.

A major change SDS provides is using electronics to avoid paper, i.e., it supports the paperless" office, which we discussed this morning. That is why I asked that you not print SDS work product, like this letter and linked material, because in doing so you lose the benefit of implementing the PMBOK requirement for alignment, since the links online are ineffective in printed media. If you want traceability, if you want case studies, if you want root cause analysis, if you want proactive management to identify problems when they are small and don't cost a lot of time and money to fix, if you want integrated management, then SDS can help.

That is why I suggest that FSR, contracting officers and commanders responsible for getting things done are good places to think about providing SDS support.

Let's not call it KM, since you point out that people have lost confidence in that particular phrase at the present time. Focus on the continuing need to implement good management, and that SDS makes this possible, i.e., it is an enabling agent, like a sophisticated "pencil," or a spreadsheet, except it is a spreadsheet for daily management to get things done using good practice.

Some where in DCMA there is pressure to meet time and cost objectives, and there are people who can respond constructively to that pressure. Indeed, everyday there are thousands of meetings on that subject: meeting time and cost objectives. At every such meeting people fall further behind, because the new world order of information overload causes meaning drift that prevents understanding and follow up, and so makes communication the biggest risk in enterprise, where every meeting, every call, every email sows the seeds of error, loss, conflict, crisis and calamity. It turns out that the essence of "understanding," which is essential to follow up effectively, is "traceability to original sources," precisely what is called out in ISO and PMBOK, and precisely what SDS enables. This makes SDS a perfect match for DOD requirements, since no other method can accomplish this objective.

Within this framework, can you suggest guidance on my contacting DSMC, as you suggest?

One idea might be to address in a training class setting the conflict (dilemma) you cite today, that people are afraid of alignment, but since that is the only tool that can improve the work, we have to learn to live with this new power, just as Aristotle and Plato had to learn to live with literacy some years ago.

DSMC might sponsor field tests of SDS to supplement experience reported by USACE.

Is this what you have in mind? I think a submission along these lines could be effective. It would be more effective, if we could garner support among your colleagues, possibly getting a contracting officer involved, and/or a senior commander. What do you think?




Rod Welch