Restricted diet

Thomas R. Temin

Mathematicians and physicists have worked for decades to find unifying principles that govern the universe.

Here on Earth, federal program managers also struggle to find convergence among seemingly disparate efforts: enterprise architectures, portfolio management, security, cross-agency collaboration and capital planning.

This will be the big challenge going into 2004 and for planning 2005 and 2006 budgets.

If at the top of the hierarchy lies an agency's architecture, the challenge is making it relevant to IT investments. As Darren Ash, the Transportation Department's deputy associate CIO for IT project management, put it, 'We want an actionable EA.'

Speaking at a recent meeting of the Bethesda, Md., chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, Ash added, 'You can't look at EA as separate from security and capital planning.'

Capital planning in turn relates to portfolio management. Further, when all the architectures and portfolios are amassed and compared to the Office of Management and Budget's Business Reference Model, you can more easily identify possibilities for consolidating systems that support business processes across multiple agencies.

That's where the biggest potential savings lie.

Recently, I read an article about people who think they can live to 120, basically by perpetually starving themselves. It's called calorie restriction.

Congress has kept the e-government initiative on the fiscal equivalent of calorie restriction, authorizing a tiny fraction of the dollars the administration has requested.

That means no agency will be able to spend itself to success meeting the goals of the President's Management Agenda.

The only way this will work is for agencies to make enterprise architecture, capital planning, portfolio management and related activities an integrated effort.

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