ACT-IAC Testifies Before U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

Leading Government and Industry Partnership Presents Success Factors to Increase Positive IT Program Outcomes

FAIRFAX, Va.--()--The American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council (ACT-IAC), a non-profit, non-lobbying, public-private partnership focused on advancing government through better use of information technology (IT), today announced that Daniel Chenok, Executive Vice Chair, IAC, testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Chenok presented ACT-IAC’s new framework, titled “7-S for Success,” which details critical success factors to reduce the risk in large-scale IT programs and arm federal project managers with the tools to execute efficient, effective programs.

Through a collaborative process that included both government and industry experts and executives, ACT-IAC developed “7-S for Success” as a holistic compilation of actionable insights on how best to improve the government’s capacity to manage large-scale IT programs and increase the probability of positive, desired outcomes. The framework presented today focuses on approaches drawn from lessons learned and best practices from both the private and public sectors. The framework incorporates overall program management and takes into account the realities of the environment in which the federal government operates.

“With the U.S. federal sector expected to spend some $80 billion in IT-related purchases in 2014, success is an imperative. Drawn from real-world experience and key takeaways from previous IT projects, the ‘7-S for Success’ Framework provides insights on IT project management, assessment and implementation, from beginning to end,” said Dan Chenok, Executive Vice Chair of IAC.

IAC Chair Jim Williams added, “The 7-S framework provides an effective management approach to large IT programs that, taken altogether, should empower stakeholders to truly evaluate the health of a program at all points throughout the process. ACT-IAC evaluated and captured these key factors which we believe will reduce risk and lead to positive outcomes for the public sector.”

The “7-S for Success” Framework is comprised of two sides of the strategic imperative for program management: the political/policy/oversight factors, grouped under “Managing Up and Out,” and the business/technical factors, grouped under “Managing Across and Down. The seven critical success factors are outlined below in their respective categories:

Managing Up and Out

  • Stakeholder Commitment and Collaborative Governance: Most complex programs involve numerous stakeholders, and often multiple agencies, contractors, and other non-government constituencies. There should be clear lines of accountability and responsibility for program goals among these players, as well engagement with key stakeholders, including oversight organizations like OMB, GAO, and Congress.
  • Skilled Program Manager and Team: There must be an accountable and qualified senior leader of the program. The program manager should ensure that a sound Integrated Program Team includes strong leaders who have consistent performance measures related to system and program milestones, to maximize the likelihood of positive outcomes.
  • Systematic Program Reviews: In addition to assessing progress against programmatic goals, governance leaders and the program manager should celebrate success and identify problems promptly for correction. Reviews should include senior representatives from key contractors where appropriate, to ensure agreement on status, risks, and necessary actions.

Managing Across and Down

  • Shared Technology and Business Architecture: Large-scale IT programs involve complex interfaces with multiple systems. A business and technology architecture can guide activities across the team, while remaining flexible enough to encourage changes during development and execution. The architecture should also address how new technologies and business processes will be integrated with legacy systems.
  • Strategic, Modular and Outcomes-Focused Acquisition Strategy: The program manager must collaborate with the acquisition organization, and other government and industry stakeholders, to develop an acquisition strategy that supports program goals. The acquisition process should start well before contract award, including market research and requirements identification, and should detail goals, timelines, and budget linkages. Procurements should also have consistent incentives across contracts.
  • Software Development that is Agile: Agile software development is an innovative IT approach, under which applications are developed in an iterative fashion whenever possible, with small-scale roll-outs, frequent feedback from end users, and communication with leaders on changes needed throughout. This approach reduces risk and increases the chances for program success.
  • Security and Performance Testing Throughout: Modules should be tested and released in phases throughout design, development, and operations – both for individual components and end-to-end system performance.

Testimony today was also heard from Steven VanRoekel, U.S. Chief Information Officer, Office of Management and Budget; The Honorable Daniel M. Tangherlini, Administrator, U.S. General Services Administration; David A. Powner, Director of Information Technology Management Issues, U.S. Government Accountability Office and Karen S. Evans, Partner, KE&T Partners, LLC.

For more information about the “7-S for Success” Framework, read the whitepaper (Key Success Factors for Major Programs that Leverage IT: The "7-S for Success" Framework) or view the testimony in its entirety (Statement of Daniel J. Chenok, Executive Vice Chair, Industry Advisory Council before the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate)

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About ACT-IAC – Advancing Government Through Education, Collaboration and Action

ACT-IAC is the premier public-private partnership in the government IT community and an example of how government and industry work together. ACT-IAC is a nonprofit educational organization created to advance government through collaboration and education. The organization provides an objective, vendor and technology-neutral and ethical forum where government and industry are working together to develop innovative strategies, effective and efficient solutions and best practices.

Learn more about our organization and how to become a member at or call (703) 208-4800. Connect with ACT-IAC on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


Sage Communications (for ACT-IAC)
Heather Dratler, 703-533-1619


Sage Communications (for ACT-IAC)
Heather Dratler, 703-533-1619