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January - February 2013

People, Process, and Policies Exploring essentials of leadership and process improvements.



Agile and Fixed Price Contracts Determining the best contract type for your next Agile project.


Open Source Trends in Government

How Open Source will affect government’s approach to cloud, mobile, virtualization and big data.

The Leadership Imperative · Go Native with Your Next Mobile App Red Tape Spaghetti –Lessons Learned · Triangle Affair

Fresh Beginnings Are Always Exciting


crisp, fresh, sunlight-sparkled morning. An old year put to bed, and a clean new promise-filled year begun. A land waking from the slumbers of winter. Fresh beginnings are always exciting and invigorating. Each beginning renews our spirits with hope for the future. But each new beginning also exacts a price. The opportunity inherent in each new beginning requires a commitment to make the most of that opportunity. The hope that’s promised of each fresh start is offered only to those willing to work for the fulfillment of that hope. And so it is with our beginning at Modern Government. At AEi, we’re excited about the opportunity that begins with our premiere issue of Modern Government magazine. And we’re also conscious of the commitment that will be required to fulfill its potential and promise. In each issue we’ll be applying our expertise and experience in the sharing of thought

leadership and practical insights for government. We’ll be providing practical insights about modern technology, leadership and management practices, and their impacts to our government audience. And starting with this very first issue of Modern Government we’ll be bringing you the thoughts and experiences of industry leaders - people with a wealth of experience in navigating the divide that often exists between private industry and government. We were both excited and honored to have spent time with Tony Jimenez, the founder and CEO of MicroTech. Tony is an innovative entrepreneur and has developed an exceptional expertise in understanding the needs of government, and in fulfilling those needs. We’re certain you’ll find his thoughts to be insightful and compelling. We’re very optimistic about the future, and excited about the opportunity this first issue of Modern Government brings. And we’ll be privileged to have your support along the way. After all, we depend upon you to help us make the most of this fresh new beginning.

Jenna E. Bratten President and CEO, AEi International Publisher, Modern Government


Content 6

Red Tape Spaghetti –Lessons Learned.


People, Process, and Policies Exploring essentials of leadership and process improvements.


Agile and Fixed Price Contracts Determining the best contract type for your next Agile project.



The Leadership Imperative The characteristics, behaviors and actions of leaders.

Tony Jimenez Traditional Success Does Not Always Follow a Traditional Path


Go Native with Your Next Mobile App Get your mobile app developed faster and cheaper.



2013 Open Source Trends in Government

Triangle Affair

On the cover Tony Jimenez, MicroTech’s CEO

Crisis Management, Disaster Recovery and the PMO

Modern Government January - February 2013 Published by AEi International Feature Photography by Reese Studios

Modern Government is a bi-monthly online publication that goes beyond the traditional business divide to bring leading organizations together to share thought leadership and practical insights for government.

MODERN GOVERNMENT · January - February 2013



Joseph Bagley

Kellyann Few

Gunnar Hellekson

Joe Bagley received both his Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from Texas A&M in Commerce, Texas.

Kellyann Few is the Chief Environmental Officer of Earthlite Management Strategies, LLC. She is an

He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Expert, Wave 4, Raytheon Company, May 2000.

Environmental Engineer and successful business development expert striving to share her knowledge of the entrepreneurship process to empower the community of striving entrepreneurs. Ms. Few has over 20 years of experience creating process improvement solutions for the Federal Government in a variety of sector areas.

Gunnar Hellekson is the Chief Technology Strategist for Red Hat’s US Public Sector group, where he works with systems integrators and government agencies to encourage the use of open source software in government.

He spent most of his career in the Defense industry including LTV Aerospace and Defense, E-Systems, Raytheon Company and Kaman Aerospace. His experience includes Quality Management, Lean Six Sigma Project Management and Manufacturing Engineering Project Management. He currently just finished mentoring Engineering graduate students at Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio for their Green Belt certification project at The Composites Group where he is currently employed.


January - February 2013 · MODERN GOVERNMENT

Hellekson is co-chair of Open Source for America and has been named one of Federal Computer Week’s Fed 100 and one of the FedScoop 50 for industry innovation. Hellekson’s topics of expertise include crossdomain security, edge innovation and interagency collaboration through the open source model. Prior to joining Red Hat, Hellekson worked as a developer, systems administrator and IT director for a series of internet businesses. He has also been a business and IT consultant to not-forprofit organizations in New York City. During that time, he spearheaded the reform of safety regulations for New York’s electrical utilities.

Tim Masterson

Michael A. Mobley

Annie Muller

Mark Tolbert, PMP

Tim Masterson runs Artizmo Tech a custom software development firm based in Hampton Virginia specializing in mobile applications.

Michael Mobley is a business executive with over 30 years’ experience in strategic planning, finance, marketing and operations. Mr. Mobley is currently Managing Partner of Obsidian Management, a consulting firm founded in 2001 that provides business advisory services, strategic planning, leadership training and executive coaching to small businesses.

Annie Muller is a PMP/PMI certified project manager with globally diverse background in consulting, technology, leadership. Annie’s industry experiences include Banking, Retail, Manufacturing, Pharmaceutical, Healthcare, Insurance, and Education. Annie possesses strong technology organizational and communication skills, and is committed to promoting global team collaboration, and providing cost-effective solutions.

Mark has over 30 years’ experience in I.T., including 27 years at Hewlett-Packard. He successfully managed support programs and projects within HP Services from 1994 through 2007. The programs and projects included a large E-Selling program, a multivendor support program for a large telecommunications company, data center relocation projects, and Mobile Device Management programs.

You can connect with him on Twitter @timmasterson or at

Michael served on the board of the Development Credit Fund in Baltimore, and was a member of the Investment Committee of The Reinvestment Fund, a Philadelphia-based venture capital firm. Michael has won several awards for his professional and community activities. He was the SBA Journalist of the Year for the state of Maryland in 2009. Michael received his B.A. in Economics from Columbia University, and an M.B.A. in Finance from the Columbia University Graduate School of Business. He is currently working on his doctorate in business at the University of Phoenix.

Annie’s goal is to ensure companies are empowered with scalable solutions for present & future needs in governance, technology, program and project management, and ICD-9 to ICD-10 compliance.

Mark earned his PMP in 1995, and has been very active in the Washington, DC PMI chapter for the past 16 years. He has served on a number of board positions and currently serves as the trustee for the chapter. Mark is very passionate about project management, and believes adopting the best project management practices and skills is crucial to the success of enterprises today. Mark has been teaching PMP Prep classes since 2007. Mark has designed a new PMP Prep program, built on core ideas and best practices he has learned.

MODERN GOVERNMENT · January - February 2013


Red Tape Red tape is excessive regulation or rigid conformity to formal rules that is considered redundant or bureaucratic and hinders or prevents action or decision-making.

Red Tape Spaghetti –Lessons Learned BY Joseph Bagley


he defense industry has been transforming itself for many years. The biggest drive toward what is now referred to as LEAN occurred in the mid 1990’s. The drive was to increase profits through minimized costs. Press stories like the $600 hammers and the $1000 toilet seats tainted the defense industry during this period. They became fodder for late night talk show hosts and Hollywood blockbusters. So the question arose. How do we cut costs? Traditionally industry’s answer is to slash budgets and headcounts without any consideration to exact details of how this will affect the functionality of the company and its internal processes. The common term for this method is REORGANIZATION. That is, move the organizational chart around so that less departmental heads are required. This was accomplished on paper by a few administrative staff personnel working for the senior staff of the company. The senior staff would then review the changes then edit them. During the same period


January - February 2013 · MODERN GOVERNMENT

all departmental heads were required to rank their employees by contribution to the company. This would be done under the guise of what they termed as an annual performance review. Each employee would be given a ranking. They were ranked between one and five depending on the manager’s determination of their performance. The employee’s names were sorted by function and salary. However, managers would gerrymander this by creating new labor grades with their own salary ranges. So what first started out as a way to cut costs while removing the less productive segment of the workforce ended up as an exercise in inefficiencies. Costs would typically increase to the pre-layoff level through inefficiencies. Now the senior managers would then deceive themselves by demanding longer hours without compensation. This only compounded inefficiencies by creating fatigue and slower moving processes. The industry then went to MERGERS and ACQUISITIONS in order to increase profits. This to was a failed strategy in that each company has its own procedures and processes. Instead of making

themselves more profitable by acquiring other specialties they found themselves in a bigger mess than they were in when they used the reorganization strategy. The problem with both methods has been that it inevitably relies on people’s opinions of other peoples contributions to an organization. The word perception is often used in the companies to describe this type of evaluation. It was not about factual scientific analysis. It, unfortunately is a touchy feely method of management. But suddenly industry started opening its eyes. They realized that they had a mess. I call it “red tape spaghetti”. It results when decisions are made with predetermined solutions. With predetermined solutions in mind the only option was to back out the actions that need to happen to get to the desired solution. This is typically done using only reasoning with no analysis. This was industries biggest failure. But there are pioneers in industry. Those whom are willing to push out of the status quos and move forward using new tools and methods to reduce

Press stories like the $600 hammers and the $1000 toilet seats tainted the defense industry during this period. They became fodder for late night talk show hosts and Hollywood blockbusters.

Process Improvement

costs. The key word became WASTE removal. I know what you’re thinking. Janitorial? You’re partly right. I’m speaking of looking at processes and determining where duplication may occur. The lean gurus of the day say there are seven types of wastes in a typical process. They are: defects, overproduction of unneeded things, inventories beyond what is required, overprocessing, unnecessary motion, extra transport, and waiting for previous processes to complete. So what does this have to do with you? Well, ask yourself. Do I really need six copies filed in various locations? Do I really need 8 people to review and approve this transaction? Do I really need people to meet with me in person? Growing up with a father who spent most of his days in the defense industry I often heard the term “Red Tape”. As I myself entered college and later industry I became very well acquainted with what the term means. So what is spaghetti? No, I’m not talking Italian dishes. Spaghetti is another term used in Lean. It is a tool where a line is drawn on a map or facility diagram everywhere a process

has to travel before it completes. This includes not only physical travel but communication whether it be by phone or by email. By the time a typical process is fully analyzed it looks like a plate of spaghetti. When you combine this with a process map you begin to see how complex a mess you may have. Next you look at the process and remove all the waste. Then you redraw the spaghetti diagram and reveal a marked improvement. During the recent political campaign there was a lot of finger pointing about the waste in government and how it impacts the federal deficit. I for one believe that if the government transformed its processes, one by one, and used these simple tools it could increases its efficiencies and reduce its costs. The solution is not to reorganize a unit. The answer is to analyze the processes that make up the unit and let the data drive the changes required. (MG)

But suddenly industry started opening its eyes. They realized that they had a mess. I call it “red tape spaghetti”. It results when decisions are made with predetermined solutions.

MODERN GOVERNMENT · January - February 2013


People, Process, and Policies Exploring essentials of leadership and process improvements. BY Kellyann Few

The production leaders have become the stewards of efficient production in support of sustainable industrial growth within the organization.


he government is committed to the efficient management of business programs to ensure sound stewardship for resources. The evolution of process improvements has proven to be a tool that both private and public organizations use to meet this commitment. As we realize sound stewardship, we come to understand the importance of effective leadership as an essential element in bringing together people, process, and policies in support of process improvements.

What is an efficient management business program? Efficient business programs are the result of continuous improvement within processes, procedures, and policies developed by teams of people within a business program. Throughout the cycle of efficiency, teams of people consider established consumer standards, waste reduction, and overall production quality.


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The evolution of process improvement became the roadmap of efficient management, beginning over 200 years ago with the creation of automation, assembly line and mass production during the Industrial Revolution. This shift placed an emphasis on living standards and quality of life, and in turn required an increase level of efficiency from the production leadership and staff. The production leaders have become the stewards of efficient production in support of sustainable industrial growth within the organization, leading teams to use the concepts of “Plan - Do - Check - Act” to systematically identity opportunities for process improvements.

How to serve as process improvement Leader? Leaders intentionally increase the effective interaction between the people and the process by using policies and methods to improve an organizational performance. It is leadership’s responsibility to achieve through planning and

Management & Process Improvement doing; assess through checking; and communicating change through active policies.

Essentials to process improvement leadership: ❚❚ Engagement. Encouraging commitment to the process and output by supporting full team engagement. Following the leader often fuels team engagement and empowers all members of the team to achieve, assess and communicate as they carryout their specific tasks. ❚❚ Management. Utilizing project management tools to ensure skills are in place to ensure effective resource management, planning and scheduling, personnel oversight, and problem solving. Once leaders have a strong operational structure in place as a foundation and ensure that the team is proficient in executing project management, process improvement will support input/output enhancements. ❚❚ Innovation. Support forward thinking by continuously assessing current process, procedures, and policies and exploring ways to add value through innovative solutions. Organizational process improvements are often realized as a result of their original, adaptive, and even radical thought process. ❚❚ Investment. Process improvements may require investment of time, people,

revenue, and research. Leaders that leverage investment opportunities are often able to evaluate success by making return on investment a seamless part of their decision making process.

Why leaders focus on process improvements? It is a responsibility of leaders to engage, manage, create and improve in support of capacity building. Implementing process improvement methods is an effective way of incorporating performance management into everyday operations. For leaders that want to perform at a higher standard, systematic efficient business management is essential. As public organizations continue to explore ways to accomplish their individual mission with scarce resources, an initial step should be to ensure the process is effectively producing the right outcome and waste of time and other resources are at a minimum. Through process improvement leadership, it is a great chance that many organizations will experience a shift in its people, processes and policies while accomplishing their missions in an enhancement manner. The overarching goal of the leader is to identify the source of non-value added activities. Some public entities may identify deficiencies in the areas of personnel utilization, overproduction and excess processing. The challenge will continue to make the case for change, and there must be a plan for process improvement. The

plan for process improvement should begin with a training and awareness program for all team members in support of the process and potential impacts of change. Most importantly, leaders must set the process improvement vision and be an example of innovative change. (MG)

The overarching goal of the leader is to identify the source of non-value added activities.

MODERN GOVERNMENT · January - February 2013


Agile project management Agile management or agile project management is an iterative method of determining requirements

for engineering and information technology development projects in a highly flexible and interactive manner.

Agile and Fixed Price Contracts


BY Mark Tolbert, PMP

At first glance, there does not seem to be a good fit between the fixed price world and Agile. In the fixed price world, it’s usually the case that the customer has a very clear understanding of the deliverables.


n 2012, the Washington, DC PMI Chapter – (PMIWDC. org) - sponsored more than fifteen meetings concerning Agile project management. (In the last five years, there have probably been more than forty or fifty presentations on Agile methodologies at chapter events. The chapter supports approximately 15 meetings each month where presentations on project management are delivered: for PMI members, it is a veritable PDU – (“Professional Development Unit”) - factory! A question that came up frequently in these presentations was: “How do I use Agile with Fixed-Price (FFP) contracts?” Or, “Can Agile be used effectively with fixed price contracts?” At first glance, there does not seem to be a good fit between the fixed price world and Agile. In the fixed price world, it’s usually the case that the customer has a very clear understanding of the deliverables and what they want created for the project. Therefore, the statement of work (SOW) should be very detailed and quite lengthy. The customer will be choosing between vendors’ solutions based mostly on price, and past performance.

January - February 2013 · MODERN GOVERNMENT

On the other hand, Agile is most appropriate for projects where the customer really doesn’t know what they want going into the project, and we need to discover or explore their requirements through iterations and prototypes. The customer will want a new solution created for the project. As Ken Schwaber – (one of the original authors of the Agile Manifesto) – said, “Agile is about the art of the possible,” not “you give me what I paid for, when you said that you’d deliver it.” For PMI, and for students preparing for the PMP exam, it’s understood that if the customer only knows what they want at a very high level – (“business requirements” or “functional requirements”) – then the customer cannot expect the vendor to bid a fixed price for this work. How could they? How can the vendor be expected to predict or estimate the schedule and their costs when the requirements are so high level? If we are the vendor, and we do not have a very explicitly detailed SOW, and we submit a proposal to do the work, how do we have any assurances the customer will accept the deliverables we

create? If there is ambiguity or vagueness in the SOW, then contractually, we won’t have a leg to stand on! We will have no assurances we will get paid. The customer can always look at the deliverables that have been created, and simply say, “This is not it! This is not what I need or want.” And the vendor will be forced to accommodate whatever change requests the customer gives them: add more features or higher quality to try to please the customer and get their formal acceptance. Of course, this is all about dealing with the dreaded “Scope Creep!” (One of the primary causes of project failure, especially in the fixed price world, is dealing with a vague and ambiguous SOW. In the fixed price world, the SOW needs to be a very detailed definition of the products and deliverables, and have the level of specificity and clarity one would expect in a Scope statement: clear “SMART” acceptance criteria for all deliverables, project boundaries or exclusions, and a clear definition of constraints and assumptions.) Of course, when the requirements are high-level, it is much harder to derive accurate

Project Management

estimates. Analogous estimating techniques are probably all we can use, and these types of estimates often turn out to be off by a significant percentage. (For PMI, at the beginning of the project, if we use analogous estimating to produce estimates, this first estimate will probably be a ROM – Rough Order of Magnitude estimate, - and its accuracy only from -50% to +50%. The real costs may turn out to be as much as 50% less, or 50% more.) Therefore, vendors traditionally do not want to make a fixed-price bid in this context, and if they have any leverage, they will want the contract to be a Cost-Reimbursable Contract type, or Time and Materials. In the Cost Reimbursable world, the customer is agreeing to pay the vendor for all of their costs: labor, tools, equipment, rooms and facilities, and perhaps some portion of their indirect costs. The customer is taking on all of the risk. If it takes more time, and costs more money for the vendor to create the solution or deliverables that the customer desires, then the customer is absorbing all of these extra costs. Additionally, on top of these

The customer can always look at the deliverables that have been created, and simply say, “This is not it! This is not what I need or want.”

costs, some profit or fee will be added. Similarly, in the time and materials world, the customer has most of the risk. Typically, time and materials contracts are used for very short duration engagements where the deliverables are quite undefined, the customer does not know what they really need, but they know they don’t have the resources – either people or tools and equipment – to meet the need. So, they bring in a vendor on a time and materials basis to provide the resources for the short duration contract. These are typically “best effort” contracts: the vendor is not committing to deliver any specific products or services, they are just providing resources at a certain rate, and the customer will have to monitor the vendor’s performance closely to see that they are producing something of value. So, this could also work well for the vendor using an Agile Project Management approach. But obviously, customers much prefer a Firm Fixed Price (FFP) contract model; often expect this, and when economic times are tough, they often have the leverage to demand this

type of contract. Now, in the fixed price world, the vendor is taking all the risk. If it costs the vendor much more to deliver an acceptable product to the customer, or it takes more time than what was estimated, then the vendor is responsible for all these additional costs. In today’s world, even with software contracts, it seems that most often customers are demanding the work to be fixed-price. So, if you are a software company, do you agree? Is there any way to make this really work? Yes, actually, software and consulting companies are proceeding with providing bids even in this context, and they are trying several strategies to protect themselves while still using Agile methodologies in this fixed-price model.


The simplest solution would be to protect against risk by just bidding a higher price. If you believe there is a significant risk that it will take longer, and cost more to deliver a product acceptable for the customer than your “most likely” estimate, add an extra buffer or reserve to cover this risk. For example, if you believe

MODERN GOVERNMENT · January - February 2013


Project Management Institute PMI is one of the world’s largest not-for-profit membership associations for the project management profession, with more than 650,000 members and credential holders in more than 185 countries.

there is an 80% probability the customer will want additional changes that will amount to a cost overrun of $30,000 (which perhaps corresponds to a schedule delay of two weeks), then add a reserve of $24,000 to protect against this risk. (This is using EMV - “Expected Monetary Value:” – multiply the estimated probability of the risk by the dollar impact to calculate the reserve amount.) Of course, the more conservative you are adding in reserve, the less likely it is your bid will be competitive with other bids.


Secondly, another approach that is often mentioned is to use a hybrid approach: Mix in a front-end detailed planning phase, so a portion of the high-level requirements can be defined in detail, and a fixed-price can be bid for this subset. Of course, the customer will need to be flexible, and agree to divide the project into segments with pricing determined for each segment or phase. At the end of each phase, a new set of requirements will be chosen and planned in detail for the next phase, and a fixed-price will be bid. But there are advantages for the customer too: unlike what is done in the classic “waterfall project,” useful products/ prototypes are delivered at the end of each iteration (or phase).


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In “waterfall,” the customer does not see the product until the end of the project. This shows that the Agile iterative approach can be viewed as a form of Rolling Wave Planning (plan in detail the things that will occur right away), and sketch in at a high level things occurring farther out in the future. Then, in a second wave of planning, and third wave of planning, come back and update the original high-level plans with details for the items that will be coming due in the near future. With this hybrid Agile approach, not only is the planning being done in waves, but prototypes are being delivered in waves or iterations. This approach does depart from the classic way of doing estimating in Agile. In Agile, the team does not plan in detail the architectural specifications of deliverables and work-packages, and use this to create a “bottomup” estimate: roll up from the detailed time and cost estimates of activities to the work-packages to the control accounts and higher levels of the WBS (work breakdown structure). Instead, relative estimates are made of the size of higher level “stories” and “features,” and as the team progresses in creating these stories or features, their “velocity” is measured, so forecasts can be made against this actual performance for the duration and cost of the sprint (or iteration).


A third approach is another variation on the second approach. Again, the customer agrees to divide the project into phases (or iterations) with separate pricing for each iteration, but we won’t do the detailed planning needed to decompose high-level requirements into architectural designs. The customer picks a subset – perhaps the top 10% or 15% - of their requirements for an initial prototype (or iteration). These requirements (or features) will also be their top priority requirements, and something the vendor estimates probably can be created in 2 to 4 weeks. The vendor knows how many resources are required for this first prototype – (perhaps 6 to 8 senior dedicated engineers), and how much time is estimated, so it will be simple to propose a price. The vendor may feel comfortable accepting the risk for a fixed price for this first iteration. Yes, of course, there is some risk that it will take longer, and cost more to create the feature set that is called for in this initial iteration, but the vendor may feel that their exposure is limited, so they can accept this risk. Alternatively, if they are not comfortable accepting this risk, then they will really propose doing this first iteration on a cost-reimbursable or time and materials basis. A “not to exceed price” could be defined for the iteration or sprint, but under this type of contract,

The real intent and spirit of Agile is to help the customer explore and discover a new solution when going into the project they only have a very high level idea of what they want. In this situation, the customer should not expect that the vendor can put together a clear precise estimate.

Project Management

the vendor is not held to a hard and fast commitment that all the features in this initial “product – backlog” will be created in the 2 to 4 week iteration. So, the customer is protected with a fixed price - (or “not to exceed price”) - for this first iteration, and they know that some useful product will be created. After the first iteration, the customer has the advantage of seeing a real product, and getting immediate feedback and assurances the vendor is on the right path early in the project. The velocity of completing the features for the first iteration is measured, and the vendor’s risk is reduced too since much more realistic estimates can be made for time and cost for future iterations. So, for the second iteration, the customer picks a new set of requirements, and again, the vendor bids a price. After the track record of the first iteration, there should be strong confidence in the soundness of the estimates that the price is built on. Change is a fact of life, and in this environment where the customer was looking for a new solution to be created, it is even more likely the customer will want changes. Now, moving from iteration to iteration, they have much more flexibility to add new requirements that were not part of the original SOW. Conversely, they could choose to delete

requirements they now believe will not have value. (A form of Pareto’s law usually applies: 20% of the customer’s requirements usually fulfill 80% of the customer’s need. Therefore, if we target that most important 20% of the requirements first, it is very likely the customer will discover other requirements they first thought were essential are not really needed. This could reduce the overall number of iterations, and therefore dramatically reduce the price of the entire project, so the vendor needs some sort of protection with a “penalty clause” if requirements are dropped.)


Lastly, another idea is to build incentives into the contract: Either use a “FixedPrice Incentive Fee” (FPIF) contract type, (or even a “Cost Plus Incentive Fee” – (CPIF) contract type). These incentivebased contracts help ensure that both parties are accountable, and are sharing risk for the project. The vendor is rewarded for beating the estimated costs, and

likewise, picks up a significant part of any cost overruns So, these are just a few of the ways that people are using Agile methodologies with fixed-price contracts today. However, it’s clear that the real intent and spirit of Agile is to help the customer explore and discover a new solution when going into the project they only have a very high level idea of what they want. In this situation, the customer should not expect that the vendor can put together a clear precise estimate of time and cost for a solution that is largely undefined. By default in this scenario, a Cost Reimbursable contract, or Time and Materials contract type would be the best fit. (MG)

MODERN GOVERNMENT · January - February 2013


We want to be a part of where cloud solutions are going, of where mobility is going.

Tony is a decorated combat veteran who served for nearly 25 years in the U.S. Military and has served in many organizations such as the Disabled American Veterans and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.


TONYJIMENEZ Traditional Success Does Not Always Follow a Traditional Path


y any measure, Tony Jimenez is a very successful man. And the company that he founded, MicroTech, is a brilliantly successful company. Built on a dream, and funded with borrowed retirement funds, credit card cash, and family possessions sold for operating capital, MicroTech has grown at an astounding rate since it was founded in 2004. In just those few years, the original staff of only a handful of people has grown to over 400 throughout the U.S.

And awards and recognition for both founder and company are accumulating at a remarkable rate. Mr. Jimenez has been named to the HITEC “Most Influential” list for 3 years running. He is a twotime Federal 100 winner for influencing how the government acquires, manages, and uses IT. He has been named the GovCon Executive of the Year, recognized as one of the “Most Influential Hispanics in the Nation” by Hispanic Business Magazine and the government information resource management organization (AFFIRM) recognized him for

“Executive Leadership for Industry.” His company has been named to the Inc. 500 Hall of Fame, and ranked the #1 communications and networking company in Washington D.C. by the Deloitte Technology Fast 500. For the last two years MicroTech was named to the Washington Post 200, and also recognized as the SmartCEO Future 50 Fastest Growing Company in the Washington D.C. area. Certainly an impressive array of awards for Mr. Jimenez and MicroTech, but only a small sampling of what they’ve been awarded in recent years.

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His company has been ranked the #1 communications and networking company in Washington D.C.

More about Tony

“Sometimes ‘Different’ is the Way to Do Things” Most successful entrepreneurs exhibit the combination of vision, all-out dedication and leadership that has served Mr. Jimenez in guiding MicroTech from a dream to a major industry player. But sometimes it takes just a bit more than the traditional ingredients of success. Sometimes a classic success story is achieved through recognizing the necessity of doing things differently. MicroTech has been so successful, in part, because of the value it has provided to both government and commercial customers. But it has been able to provide that value by taking somewhat of a non-traditional route. Rather than taking the traditional approach of simply responding to what the customer wants, Mr. Jimenez has insisted upon digging deeper, focusing on developing a highlevel understanding of what the customer needs to accomplish. By taking the time to understand the customer’s mission, the MicroTech team is able to focus on delivering what the customer truly needs to accomplish the mission. “What are you trying to do? What’s the mission? What keeps you up at


January - February 2013 · MODERN GOVERNMENT

night?” Those are the issues to focus upon, said Mr. Jimenez. MicroTech strives to serve its customers by developing an understanding of their goals, of their mission. And then working to deliver what their customers need to achieve their goals. MicroTech’s phenomenal growth reflects the superiority of that approach over a more traditional rote response.

“We’re Doing Everything We Can, Every Day, to Get Better at What We Do” Tony Jimenez recognizes that great success can breed complacency. “A lot of times companies grow so fast that they get focused on the growth, not on the quality,” said Mr. Jimenez. “But we’ve got a great company and we’re very excited about the things that we know we’re going to do in the future. We’re doing everything we can, every day, to get better at what we do.” For Mr. Jimenez to aspire to improve even beyond the exemplary service that MicroTech has provided its customers since its founding is certainly an ambitious goal. But it’s that very mindset that drives the most successful of entrepreneurs like Tony Jimenez.

Tony Jimenez is quite an interesting and accomplished individual — even apart from his success with MicroTech. Tony is a decorated combat veteran who served for nearly 25 years in the U.S. Military. In his focus on giving back to the veteran, Hispanic and small business communities, Tony has served in many organizations such as the Disabled American Veterans and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He has also been a long-time supporter and sponsor of the UFC - and even dared to spend a little time in the ring with a professional fighter (a LITTLE time, Tony emphasized!) Tony is much sought after for his expertise in technology, governmental affairs and small business growth. He has testified before Congress on multiple occasions. And he has served as an advisor for three White House administrations, meeting on many occasions with presidents and senior administration officials. We were excited at Modern Government when Tony generously agreed to carve a little time out of his demanding schedule to sit down for a bit of Q&A. Tony’s responses to our questions were both interesting and enlightening.


MODERN GOVERNMENT How has the government landscape changed since you started MicroTech in 2004? JIMENEZ: Drastically. Since 2004 there’s been a lot of discussion around how the government buys. Better buying, more focused buying, improvement around how it contracts with small, medium, and large businesses, how it ensures the total cost of ownership - which is something that the federal government didn’t look at real well in the earlier years. And now with many of the things in Afghanistan and Iraq kind of winding down, the government’s looking at what it paid, and how much it cost. And not only what it paid and how much it cost, but how much it cost to maintain it, to manage it, and then introduce it back into the life cycle of government systems. And all of that apprehension leads to different buying methodologies because people are trying to figure out: how do I make sure now, if I’ve got less money, that every penny I spend is being spent economically? More importantly, everyone is thinking that the success of the program that they’re responsible for managing is the key, not necessarily the success of the overall government. So sometimes people make decisions around solutions or programs that shouldn’t be around. And instead of saying, “It cost too much,” or, “Do we really need that?” some programs tend to stay longer than they should. So what we’re seeing in particular - right now, especially - is what we call soft sequestration. It’s like if we knew that we were about to get a hurricane, a lot of people would go out and buy more water than they need and they’d buy generators, and they’d buy warm blankets, and they’d buy all those things you buy when you’re getting ready for a storm. And then if they knew it was going to be a long time, they’d save their money. Because you need to have your money going into one of those types of situations. Well, Program Managers are the same way; they’re sitting on a lot. Right now there is a ton of unobligated money out there because people want to know that they’re going to have enough in the event of a sequestration. And buying habits will change if there’s a sequestration, so that’s the situation.

MODERN GOVERNMENT: What are the challenges that government agencies will need to overcome in the years ahead? JIMENEZ: I think the government will need to take a better look at commercial buying practices and commercial processes. I think right now the government spends a lot of money for a lot of things. You know, one of the first things that I often ask people is: why do we have so many different “eaches” in the federal government? Why does everybody buy the same stuff and nobody buys it any better than anybody else? And the ones that do buy it well, why aren’t they given the ability to go buy it for everybody? And the ones who buy it poorly, why isn’t their ability to buy it poorly prohibited? Why do we have so many different healthcare systems within the federal government, and what’s the solution to that? Why does the Air Force have its own, the Army have its own, the Navy and Marines have their own, why does VA have its own? And why do other agencies have responsibility? Why do we in the commercial world rely on VA to provide Veterans with healthcare? Why do we rely on TRICARE to provide retired military with healthcare? Why do we rely on so many different systems when a consolidation and a single use would make all the same sense?

I think the government will need to take a better look at commercial buying practices and commercial processes. I think right now the government spends a lot of money for a lot of things.

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The government can’t prioritize what it needs because many people aren’t talking about what they need. And then there’s the confusing: what you need versus what you want. And where are the cost savings? You want to save millions? Consolidate some of those programs. Have one healthcare for all of the services. MODERN GOVERNMENT: How is MicroTech leading the way in responding to these challenges? JIMENEZ: I think part of it is listening. What does the government need to be better? And when we can get agencies to tell us what they need, we can figure out how to get it to them. A lot of agencies are very secretive. “Ahh, I don’t want to tell you. Read the proposal, read the RFP. We’re going to put something out to tell you.” “Well, how about you just tell me and everybody else? So we know what keeps you up at night.” You know it would be the same in my home. If every night I went to bed I got rain on my head because I didn’t have a roof and somebody said, “What keeps you up at night?” “My roof.” So am I now going to run out and buy, you know, a new driveway? No, I’m going to get my roof fixed. And if somebody comes to pitch to me about a new driveway, I’m probably not going to buy one because they don’t really know what I need. I haven’t told them what I need. I haven’t told them, “I really need a new roof.” I prioritize what I need because I know what I need. The government can’t prioritize what it needs because many people aren’t talking about what they need. And then there’s the confusing: what you need versus what you want. People in the government are bombarded by commercials, just like people who aren’t in the government. We see the newest, hottest car; the newest, hottest technology; the newest, hottest phone; the newest, hottest capability. And I had some people say, “Man, I love that phone where you touch the two and it exchanges information.” Yeah, that’s really nice. But what do you need that for in the government? Are you transferring information between phones in the government or are you transferring them between computers?


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When you tell me why you need that, sure. But if that’s what you need, there’s a difference between need and want in that particular situation. So don’t tell me what you want, don’t tell me, ‘I want six computers.’ What is it you’re trying to do? Because you might not need a full client computer. You may need thin client computers, you may need zero client computers, you may need everything running on your desktop, or everything in a cloud environment, not a bunch of applications or licenses that you pay for and never use sitting on people’s desktop computers. And then what kind of licenses do you need? Do you need a license that allows you to renew every year? Or do you just need it for once in a blue moon when you access it where you can access it out of a cloud environment? MODERN GOVERNMENT: How would you describe a more modern government? JIMENEZ: I think modern government works more with industry and embraces industry ideas, and industry’s capability to get it right and get it right fast because industry is motivated. We’re a capitalist society, people are motivated by people who have it right, and people who have it right can sell it. People who have it wrong, play heck trying to sell it. You can have a great, great solution, but if nobody’s buying it, it doesn’t matter how good it is. The federal government needs to get a little bit more entrepreneurial. They need to understand that being an entrepreneur is not a bad thing. Figuring out how to do it bigger, better, faster, cheaper is a critically important part, and people who know how to do that are in industry; many are in government. But when you get smart people in the government together with smart people in industry and you approach it as a team. Modern government is engrained with modern technology, and modern industry, and modern corporations, and we spend an awful lot of money on education. And a lot of that education isn’t being taken full advantage of. We’ve got to make absolutely sure that the best and brightest that come over here to study aren’t told to go


MicroTech University MicroTech University is a state-of-the-art Training Center that provides a comprehensive array of courses, training opportunities, and certifications.

I think modern government works more with industry and embraces industry ideas, and industry’s capability to get it right and get it right fast because industry is motivated. home after they’re done, that we provide opportunities for them. We need to keep them here. And we need to understand that’s what made this nation great. We bring people from all over the world here and they want to come here because of the opportunities available. Modern government is more involved in the rest of America. And not in a sense of giving, but in a sense of receiving. It needs to be both ways. MODERN GOVERNMENT: What experience has most prepared you for where you are today? JIMENEZ: Probably people telling me I couldn’t do what I’ve done. And in telling me that I want to be able to do it even more when people tell me I can’t. And now it kind of concerns me because people stopped telling me what I can’t do, and now the expectation is almost the opposite. People will tell me I can do things and I know I can’t because one: I’m not prepared to invest. And two: I’m not ready to change my game plan. I’m not interested - just because I figured out how to be a great quarterback - in now trying to be a great pitcher. I understand my limitations and I know what it takes to move to the next level. And as the company gets bigger, it’s kind of like throwing a softball versus throwing a 1,000 pound steel ball. You know I can’t throw or move or turn with the same kind of flexibility I had when there were only 10 people. I can do a whole lot more, but it takes a lot more effort to

ensure that I do the 100 things I can do versus the five things or ten things or one thing I could do. MODERN GOVERNMENT: Which award or accolade are you most proud of? JIMENEZ: Wow, I’m proud of all of them. Every single one has been just pinch me moments. I think the very first one, the really, really first one that was really big that separated me, that I could tell some effort went into it. That was, “Wow.” And then the second, and the third, and the fourth and even here recently, you know getting selected by Goldman Sachs as one of the 100 Most Innovative Entrepreneurs. It didn’t even separate. If it had been the Most Innovative CEOs that would have been something, but it was the Most Innovative Entrepreneurs which means anybody who’s ever desired to be a business, and then to be categorized with people like Steve Case who did AOL, and Kevin Plank who does Under Armour, and I mean the list goes on and on of amazing people. That I was there spending a week with them, listening to their story, they were listening to mine; everybody got a chance to tell their story. But you know it’s tough to say which one was the best. I mean, they were all kind of bricks in the path to success, and I’m hoping that I’m not done. We’ve got a great company and we’re very excited about the things that we know we’re going to do in 2013,

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Feature and the things we know we’re going to do in ’14 and ’15. MODERN GOVERNMENT: Can you share more insight about your passions outside of the business world? JIMENEZ: You know, I think the thing that I like the most is when I meet people who have that passion. You know, you meet them and you’re energized by them and you feel it. And the UFC fighters, the ones I’ve met, love what they do, they know they’re good at it, they don’t in their mind think anybody can beat them. When a fighter steps in that ring, it’s all on the line and if they lose they’re right back to the loser column. And fighting off the loser column is a heck of a lot harder than fighting off the winning column. They’re both the same, but opportunities come as a result of success. I think what I’m passionate about is anybody who’s good at what they do. I mean if they’re a musician and they’re good at what they do, amazing; if they’re a dancer and they’re good at what they do; if they’re an entrepreneur and they’re good at what they do; if they work for the government and they’re good at what they do. I like people who take pride in what they do, and they strive to be the best, and they work really hard to be better than anybody else in their field.


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Those are the kind of people we need to emulate, and embrace, and hold up for everybody to see so they can get it, they understand what it takes to be number one. [Laughing] I made the mistake one time of putting on the gloves [with a UFC fighter] just for a short period…it was very bad idea! They wanted to show me that what they did for a living was not easy. MODERN GOVERNMENT: What is next for MicroTech? JIMENEZ: I think we’re definitely going to continue to grow. I think we’re going to move more and more into cloud solutions; that, I think, is where people, governments, large corporations need to move. It’s where next generation technology is going to go and I think people who understand that and develop solutions around it will be playing a role, not just doing it. We want to be a part of where cloud solutions are going, of where mobility is going. And how we manage big data is a critical, important part of where we’re going next. (MG)

I like people who take pride in what they do, and they strive to be the best, and they work really hard to be better than anybody else in their field.


The Leadership Imperative Many entrepreneurs struggle with recognizing the need for leadership as distinct from management, and deciding which definition of leadership is most applicable to them and their situation. BY Michael A. Mobley


cademicians, government officials and economists assert that entrepreneurship is the primary vehicle for job creation in the United States because they facilitate innovation, change, productivity and growth in the economy. It is also recognized that building viable businesses is a difficult task characterized by failure rates that can be as high as 70 percent. The failure of many entrepreneurial

endeavors can be attributed to a lack of appropriate leadership, which is critical to the successful performance of any business. However, there is no universally accepted definition of leadership, and this gap has facilitated an environment where the purpose and efficacy of leadership is often in the eye of the beholder. Many entrepreneurs struggle with recognizing the need for leadership as distinct from management, and deciding

which definition of leadership is most applicable to them and their situation. Peter Drucker, one of the most renowned and frequently cited theorists on the subject of management, defines leadership as follows: “Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations”. If one accepts Mr. Drucker’s definition of leadership, then questions

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are raised as to the characteristics, behaviors and actions that make leaders most effective in producing successful outcomes for their organizations. Arguably, the first step in answering the question of what makes leaders most effective is recognizing that while both good leadership and management are requirements for creating and sustaining viable organizations, there are important differences between the two concepts. The distinctions between leadership and management are best captured by former Secretary of State of the United States and retired General Colin Powell: “Leadership is the art of accomplishing more than the science of management says is possible.” In the process of deconstructing this statement, one notes the description of leadership as art and the characterization of management as science. Interpreting General Powell’s definition, management concerns the development, implementation and evaluation of processes and procedures that allow the organization to function smoothly. The science of management refers to the ability to learn and standardize these processes and procedures. Leadership concerns people and how to motivate those people to realize Mr. Drucker’s definition of leadership. There is very little science associated with leading people, as people are individuals with a range of needs and wants. Consequently, leadership can be viewed as more art than science. An analogy that further clarifies the difference between management and leadership is a comparison of classical and jazz music. Classical music is creative, but tends to be performed the same way the vast majority of the time. Conversely, while jazz also has its standard charts, the live performances tend to be improvised, depending upon the musicians and the audience. John Kotter, author of The Leadership Factor, postulates that management is about complexity and leadership is about change. According to Mr. Kotter, management is short-term in its focus and concerns planning and budgeting, organizing and staffing, and control mechanisms. Leadership has a long-term focus and concerns setting a direction by communicating a vision, aligning people through effective communication, and motivating people by appealing to their needs for self-esteem and recognition. How, then does a person progress from being a short-term oriented manager to a long-term oriented leader? In a Harvard Business Review article, Michael Watkins, cofounder of Genesis Advisers, a leadership development firm, suggests what he refers to as “seven seismic shifts” to become an effective leader. First, one


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must become a generalist, rather than a specialist, which means understanding the key functions of an organization and developing mechanisms to evaluate the leaders of those functions. Second is the requirement to become an integrator, rather than an analyst, which means synthesizing the collective knowledge of the organization to solve complex problems. Third, is the need to be a strategist, rather than a tactician, which concerns a focus on the big picture, environmental shifts and the ability to influence key players outside of one’s organization. Fourth, one must move from being a bricklayer to an architect. The implications of such a shift are the ability to analyze and design organizations to function effectively and to more easily make required changes in the organization. Fifth, an effective leader should set the agenda, rather than be a problem solver, by defining the problems and issues that should be the priorities of the organization. Sixth, one must become a diplomat instead of a warrior, influencing the external forces that have an impact on the organization, including the government, investors and lenders, and the media. Finally, the leader must move from a supporting role to one of leadership, by exhibiting the behaviors consistent with effective leadership. An aspect of the behaviors referenced by Mr. Watkins concerns effective leadership as previously defined by Peter Drucker and General Colin Powell, i.e., facilitating superior performance by one’s employees. James Kouzes and Barry Posner, authors of The Leadership Challenge, recommend five leadership practices that characterize effective leaders: challenge the process by searching for opportunities for change, experimenting and taking risks; inspire a shared vision by envisioning the future and enlisting others to share that vision; enabling others to act by fostering collaboration and strengthening others; modeling the way by setting the example and planning small wins for the organization; and encouraging the heart by recognizing individual contributions and celebrating accomplishments. What I have presented are several opinions by respected individuals regarding effective leadership. As I stated earlier, there is no universal agreement about the definition of leadership, let alone what constitutes effective leadership. Therefore, as alluded to by General Colin Powell, consider these leadership concepts as art, rather than science, because leadership, like art, is in the eye of the beholder. That said, I would ask you to take to heart the words of Sam Walton, founder of Walmart: “Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” (MG)

Open Source Open source software (OSS) is computer software with its source code made available


and licensed with an open source license in which the copyright holder provides the

rights to study, change and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose.


Open Source Trends in Government These three trends, cloud, big data, and mobile, have one thing in common: they are made possible with open source.

Expert Gunnar Hellekson explains how Open Source will affect government’s approach to cloud, mobile, virtualization and big data. BY Gunnar Hellekson


s an industry, we have come to expect a certain amount of innovation each year: processors get faster, storage gets denser and so on. It is rare, though, to have a year like 2012. Besides the expected marginal improvements, the last 12 months have brought not one, but three tectonic shifts in the way IT works. You can see it in the way vendors behave. BI and

storage companies furiously recast their products to meet the challenges of “big data” – whatever that is. “Cloud” has blossomed from hypothetical to a driver for serious consolidation as companies acquire any “asa-Service” startup that can fill a gap in their portfolio. Everyone scrambles to add mobile apps and web services to their offerings to make them more accessible to mobile devices. Pity the bewildered customers, many

Open source has long been a solution for many issues in the federal space, and in 2013 we can expect much more from open source.

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For most federal buyers, cloud no longer means a public cloud, whose security and other risks present too high a bar for most missions. Instead, hybrid cloud is emerging as the default. of whom are in no position to use any of this, and must content themselves by frantically revising their strategy documents. These three trends, cloud, big data, and mobile, have one thing in common: they are made possible with open source. Open source software is created to solve immediate problems, like creating web services that can handle millions of mobile clients, automating data centers so they can be treated as a “cloud” and chewing through petabytes of unstructured data. Where proprietary software is sold to solve a customer’s well-understood problem, open source provides customers the freedom to innovate on new problems, and to share that innovation. Without an open source approach, ideas like cloud computing would be confined to a single innovator, or wouldn’t be possible in the first place. Open source has long been a solution for many issues in the federal space, and in 2013 we can expect much more from open source. More than any other trend, open source is putting control back in the hands of government agencies, rather than the vendors who are providing them with technology solutions. With this in mind, here are the trends I expect we’ll see in 2013:


We’ve already seen how disruptive cloud computing can be to traditional vendors and customers, and this will continue through 2013 as the tools begin to standardize and the problems become better understood. Security, for example, has been a constant concern for both skeptics and wouldbe adopters. Compliance, auditing, regulatory concerns, legal ambiguities and governance issues have had a chilling effect on potential adopters. With very few subject matter experts on hand to mitigate these concerns, many of us rely on organizations like the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) which promotes best practices for providing security assurance within cloud computing and education on ways to use cloud computing to help secure other forms of computing. The education, resources and services the CSA and other standards organizations provide will increase awareness around cloud security tools and help federal IT employees put many of their security concerns to rest. For most federal buyers, cloud no longer means a public cloud, whose security and other risks present too high a bar for most missions. Instead, hybrid cloud is emerging as the default. Hybrid clouds refer to cloud management that spans both on-premise and multi-tenant public clouds. This allows users to have access to something that feels like a public cloud, but still managed within an agency’s policy. Operators benefit from the seemingly limitless capacity of public clouds without compromising on security and other risks. Openness makes this possible. Open standards for interoperability and management mean users aren’t subject to vendor lock-in and vendor-specific


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ecosystems. Open source, of course, makes implementations of this standard accessible to a broad audience. Openness also refers to the application owners themselves who are discovering that open cloud environments encourage reuse, discourage redundancy and can create a supportive and collaborative environment for their developers and architects. While standards and the open, hybrid cloud develop apace, Platform as a Service (PaaS) cloud services promises to be even more disruptive. Where now-traditional Infrastructureas-a-Service (IaaS) clouds provide whole running systems on-demand, PaaS provides a set of well-defined, standardized components that can be quickly assembled by a developer. Obviously, these reusable application platforms and components allow agencies to innovate rapidly by focusing more time on their application and mission and less time managing the hardware and software underneath them. A PaaS could be indispensible for an agency that wants to regain control and influence over its basic infrastructure. The real magic of PaaS, though, is that it makes familiar open source patterns like sharing, standardization and modularity much easier to adopt in an agency environment – it’s no accident that today’s PaaS solutions are mostly used to host open source tools. This idea is still being digested by many within the enterprise, and a few agencies, like NSA, GSA and DISA, are testing the waters. Where we understand “cloud” as a shorthand for IaaS today, it’s entirely possible that by the end of 2013, we will see PaaS as the cloud idiom that finally delivers on the promises of cloud computing.


2012 was the year of “Bring Your Own Device” as many shops ceded a measure of control to the overwhelming innovation in the consumer electronics market. The most obvious change we’ve seen is the transition from agency-issued Blackberries to a more open, less prescriptive policy that permits the end-user their choice of device, provided they adhere to some wellunderstood standards for security and interoperability. Less obvious is the pressure these devices place on internal and external applications that need to talk with them. The Federal CIO’s Digital Government Strategy is explicit about this: citizens expect government services to be available on their iPhone and their Android tablets. Likewise, agency employees expect to use mobile apps to access enterprise data and otherwise help accomplish their mission. This means new interfaces to old systems, providing websites optimized for mobile web browsers and APIs that make it easy for mobile applications to work with information in agency data centers. The overwhelming majority of these back-office projects to enable mobile access are using open source. This is only natural. Open source frameworks like Ruby on Rails and Drupal already

In 2013, we will see mobile development promoted from an afterthought to a first-tier development target for new agency projects.

The economics of storage are going to make cloud storage an area of particular interest for 2013.

compose the superstructure of the commercial web. In 2013, we will see mobile development promoted from an afterthought to a first-tier development target for new agency projects. With this shift, we’ll see even greater adoption of open source throughout the agency enterprise.

the question is, “big data” solutions like Hadoop and Accumulo provide tools to help agencies answer questions they haven’t asked yet. Again, the vast majority of these “big data” tools are open source. While much of the big data attention is focused on these analytic tools, the economics of storage are going to make cloud storage an area of particular interest for 2013. Open source tools like Gluster allow disparate storage components, either on-premise or in the cloud, to be presented as a single resource to an application. This means that federal IT shops can run their analytics in whatever cloud or data center makes sense, knowing that their data can follow them. This will be popular with agencies not only because it represents a simple and reliable disaster recovery plan for COOP, but also zero vendor lock-in for cloud storage. Having access to storage from multiple vendors gives cloud storage users the flexibility, collaboration and variety of resources they need to address their storage capacity needs and concerns now and in the future. The elasticity associated with open cloud storage will undoubtedly help agencies with their high volumes of data internally, but also externally as it is exchanged amongst other federal entities. (MG)


Virtualization may seem like a solved problem, however in 2013, we’ll see more attention and competition in this space, much of it from open source. As open source virtualization solutions, which provide better security at a lower cost, gain acceptance, we’ll see greater diversity in the virtualization infrastructure. I predict that more federal IT teams will turn to virtualization so that their physical hardware can be replaced separately from the software that lives inside them, resulting in a more standardized, predictable lifecycle, fewer transition costs and better use of the power-saving technologies already built directly into their hardware. It’s a functional investment that I think many IT leaders will embrace this year.

Storage and big data

In 2012, it became a cliché to talk about the ocean of data that lives inside each agency. Unlike structured databases like Oracle, which are optimized for providing answers when you know what

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Exponential growth Mobile devices make up roughly 20 percent of U.S. web traffic and there are more mobile phones on the planet than there are people.


Go Native with Your Next Mobile App BY Tim Masterson


hances are you’ve at least thought about a mobile app for your organization. With hundreds of thousands of apps being developed and released every year it is becoming more and more important to ensure that when you do make your first app it enhances your organization’s mission. With the app gold rush a number of new frameworks have been developed that promise to make app development faster and cheaper. Many of these frameworks are great if you are building the kind of app that the framework is designed to make. Here are some quick summaries of the most important players right now.


I’m not talking about the beer, but the 2D game development framework. This framework is great when you want to build a 2D game like Angry Birds. The framework uses a little known language called Lua that can be compiled for both iPhone and Android. It has been optimized for iPhone although some apps can also be built for Android.


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This is a full-blown 3D game development platform that can be used to build both iPhone and Android apps. I recommend only using this framework to build a 3D training simulation, or a 3D immersive visualization app, because it doesn’t use the interface elements most organizations need in their apps. If you plan on building anything other than a 3D training simulation then you would be best served using a different framework to build your application.


This framework uses HTML and JavaScript to make an application. The framework then generates and compiles a mobile application. By its very nature this framework is good for website like applications. Since it uses HTML and JavaScript you can build for both iPhone and Android with largely the same code base.

Native frameworks:

Apple and Google provide native frameworks for developers to build mobile apps. All of

the frameworks mentioned above are built on top of native frameworks. When the hardware capabilities change, native frameworks are the first to be updated and the best maintained. Apple and Google have more developers and larger budgets than the third party framework vendors. Native framework updates are released as the hardware changes. Third party frameworks are typically six to nine months behind hardware updates. You don’t have to worry about Apple or Google going out of business, or being acquired and discontinued. Apps written with the official native framework will be more responsive, more stable, and perform faster than apps written with third party frameworks. In a few years, when changes in phone hardware slow down, third party frameworks will be a more viable option. But for now the hardware is changing so fast that your best bet is to go native. It may be a little more expensive, but in my opinion it will provide your organization with the best value and give you the best opportunity to share your mission. (MG)

In a few years, when changes in phone hardware slow down, third party frameworks will be a more viable option.

Project Management Office A PMO is a group or department within a business, agency or enterprise that defines and maintains standards for project management

within the organization. The PMO strives to standardize and introduce economies of repetition in the execution of projects.

Triangle Affair Crisis Management, Disaster Recovery and the PMO BY Annie Muller


ts been called “Business Continuity.” Its been called “Disaster Recovery.” Its been called “Risk Management.” They are not the same as Crisis Management. They simply belong at different points in a crisis timeline.

Ground zero is the point of crisis impact Business Continuity is what happens when a crisis impacts an organization and what needs to happen for business to continue right after the crisis hits. Disaster Recovery is what happens when the crisis is stabilized and the recovery that follows, when everyone takes an inventory of what was lost, damaged and what can be salvaged. Risk Management is about knowing or not knowing the risks, measuring risk tolerance and how the risks should be managed,

mitigated, deflected or avoided. In this article the focus is on how the PMO can play a vital role in Crisis Management. It can be the very hub of your command center and triage where all communication arteries flow. Key decisions are made during the entry point of a disaster to remediation, repair, and healthy recovery. Let’s step back for a moment and think about assumptions, some golden guidelines, and why the PMO has value add in Crisis Management.

Danger Zone Assumptions First, it’s dangerous when an organization thinks that the IT or technology group has the master plan for crisis management. IT or technology has its own disaster recovery approach as a matter of practice and discipline of the profession. Those of you who work with technology know this.

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Crisis A crisis is any event that is, or expected to lead to, an unstable and dangerous situation.

First, it’s dangerous when an organization thinks that the IT or technology group has the master plan for crisis management.

The technology group does not have the grand master plan. It’s not a fixed or static definitive plan. It’s a moving target. Second, arrogance or over confidence is a misplaced belief in crisis management. No one is indestructible. Mother nature wreaks havoc when we least expect it and when we are unprepared. We are reminded of this with many historical events all the way back to the fall of the Roman empire. Thirdly, a crisis can be unpredictable in timing and magnitude. We can however plot out a probability scale based on historical data. Past performances is an indicator of future probability. It’s about numbers and more important a matter of survival. Do not under estimate preparedness. It is critical. Crisis Management is about teamwork and the triangle dance. Empower the PMO and the entire team towards a creative solution. The sum of all is always greater than the sum of one. This is not the time to be arrogant or overly confident. It’s about the greater good. It’s not about a 100% avoidance, prevention, or prediction. Crisis management is about minimizing the damage and managing the risks.


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Golden Guidelines of Crisis Management

chance to recharge.

These guidelines are not hard and fast rules. Adjust accordingly.

Identify, track and record the who, what, where, why and how of all controllable, uncontrollable, unknowns, and uncertainties every step of the way. This will help you fine tune your solutions as you go based on the situation and will allow you to undo execution if necessary. Parking lot the items you don’t know what to do with is helpful and might provide revelation later.

1. Have an emergency pack ready for the event or know your critical points that need to be protected or accessed. It’s kind of a rough sketch playbook for the crisis. You have all the parts, but some “assembly required”. You can’t possibly know all the tools or pieces you need but whatever you have provides you the maximum ability to address issues to minimize impact and damage. Have a predefined approach to how you are going to execute what you need to. A long inflexible or complicated project plan will hinder you rather than help you, so go with small incremental changes. There will be times when you need to forego formal procedures and protocol. Whatever you choose, it has to be extremely efficient and adaptable. You can use Scrum or Six Sigma for example to guide your steps in any crisis. Use whatever means is aligned to the overall organizational structure.

2. When the crisis hits establish a triage or command center. Assemble the SMEs (subject matter experts). You will need to rotate resources to give people a

3. Assess damage immediately.

4. Give it some personal touch with breaks and handoffs. Allow humor and jokes. Coffee and snacks go a long way. This means use your people resources wisely. A crisis can be a 24 hour flurry of activities over a long period of time; days to weeks even months and years in some cases. Laughter and rest is needed when demands and stress levels are high.

5. Communication cannot be overdone. This is not the time for hidden agendas or blame. It’s about working together to get to the goals you need to stabilize and recover from a crisis.

6. Have some redundancy to critical components of

Project Management

While many organizations have looked upon the PMO as cumbersome with loaded bureaucracy, an effective PMO is an art.

your business like a redundant data center or redundant manufacturing line.

2. They can move everyone in

7. Sometimes its not always

3. They are the buffer and liaison

about money or profit. Acknowledge the efforts with a thank you or great job. People will go the extra mile if you acknowledge their efforts.

8. Encourage and listen to your team. You will be surprised with the ideas that come to the table. If you have a global team it is helpful to have someone bilingual to facilitate communication. It builds trust.

the right direction at the right time between groups that need buffering

4. They can be the M*A*S*H unit in your triage and command center. They mobilize and stabilize.

5. They can bring harmony to the table.

6. They remember the little

adapting to the situation.

things and the personal touch like coffee , donuts, snacks and needed breaks with humor, sleep and rotating the team smoothly.

10. Be of service to others. Help

7. They tend to keep track of the

9. Balance control, flexibility and

each other.

Where the PMO adds value While many organizations have looked upon the PMO as cumbersome with loaded bureaucracy, an effective PMO is an art. It’s a balancing act between hard facts, mathematics, science, and creative solutions, that is not always about the numbers or the science. The PMO has value add in crisis management in many ways:

1. They can be your most trusted and objective advisors.

logs and statistics when it comes time to budget, forecast, and asking for funds.

8. They can provide post mortem lessons learned analysis valuable for the future of the organization

9. The PMO can be the keeper of tools and techniques to navigate uncharted territories. There’s a time to use or not use ITIL, ISO, IEEE, Six Sigma DMEDI or DMAIC, Agile, Scrum, Pert, ROI, Gantt charts or other measuring or analytical data tools you may have in your arsenal. If you do not have an established or mature PMO, begin cross-

training and rotating your teams. Identify who you can groom for different roles. Identify and establish some kind of strategy, but do not let it collect dust on a bookshelf. Put something in place, test it. In so doing, there’s a spirit of teamwork taking place behind the scenes. When the time comes they will step into the challenges and transition smoothly as the situation demands. In the end, there is no cookie cutter approach to Crisis Management. Any organization will need to identify, establish, test, and continuously improve and change a crisis management strategy. (MG)


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Modern Government Jan-Feb 2013  

Modern Government is a bi-monthly online publication, published by AEi International, that goes beyond the traditional business divide to br...