Nov 042008

Cutter’s Bob Charette has written the cover story, “What’s Wrong With Weapons Acquisitions?,” for this month’s IEEE Spectrum. The article highlights the problems in defense acquisition: spiraling costs, extremely lengthy project delays, politics trumping technology, a lack of skilled workers, and a dearth of institutional knowledge as a result of outsourcing. Sound familiar? The scope of the projects and of the failures Bob reports is immense, but the issues are surely ones you can identify with, regardless of which industry you’re in or where you’re based.

Bob interviewed dozens of industry and government defense-acquisition experts over the course of a year and a half to support this piece. When we talked about it, Bob remarked, “everybody I interviewed believes the acquisition process is in dire straights and desperately needs to be changed, but no one believes that change will happen unless there is a major national crisis.” I sincerely hope that it doesn’t come to that.

[Bob’s spent his career advocating risk management as the route to avoiding project failures and blunders. He’s written hundreds of thoughtful articles on the topic, many exclusively for Cutter clients, including Failing Successfully, Eyes Wide Open, and Profiting from Risk: A Transformation of One Company’s Risk Culture.]


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