The Perils of Petascale IT Projects

PetascaleITProjectsI have an article published in the current issue of FCW: The Business of Federal Technology on petascale IT projects.

Good news: We no longer have to talk about megascale IT projects. Large-scale ventures that typically cost $1 billion or more, megaprojects used to be all the rage, but they are quickly being superseded by petascale IT initiatives. Those projects can cost even more, involve complexity on a truly massive scale and require petaflops of computer processing. Despite the horrendous track record of delivering on even moderately complex IT projects, public-sector CIOs continue to embrace the design, planning and execution of petascale IT projects. To read more, please click here.

To view the article in the digital edition of the magazine, please click here.

1 reply
  1. Hank Kong
    Hank Kong says:

    Dr. Desouza: You are correct in much of what you are reporting. That has been my experience. We collectively call the problems of large scale projects to be one of "big bang" - they try to build the world in one step. Succesful projects I have seen do things differently. First, identify a "core" set of capabilities between the user community and what is technically feasible. Get that functionality designed, developed and tested and out the door in a short amount of time (one year to 1.5 years tops). Deploy this increment only to a segment of the users. Once fielded, capture lessons learned. Go back to the users and say what do you want us to add to this core capability. Meanwhile, continue to deploy to other users. So a large scale IT can be successful, if done in small chunks.

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