Original Post Date: Friday, July 9, 2010

 While sitting in the operatory chair yesterday, my dentist said something that made me stop. He was complaining about an increasing rate of incompetence and apathy he observes in those delivering services to him. And while I do agree with him in principal, he and I are of the age where some folks label us as grumpy old men. So, it may not be as bad as we think. Regardless, the statement he said he made to the an unfortunate poor-quality service provider was, “If you don’t have the time to do it right the first time, when are you going to have time to fix what you did?” Apparently, the excuse offered by the provider was that he didn’t have the time to do the job the correct way, so he tried a short-cut.

Wow! This hit me right between the eyes. I immediately expelled all the material and apparatus he had placed in my mouth so I could tell him how impressed I was with his logic. Plus, I had never heard that expression before. But how true it is and in it I see a glimmer of hope for realizing a key initiative of WSARA (Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009) - getting things right from the start with sound systems engineering, cost-estimating. The path to getting this accomplished is through the people doing the work and not through DoD leadership. As I reflect on my experience with DoD Systems Engineers and Cost Estimators, most I know want to do the job right the first time. If every one of us involved in planning and estimating software, hardware, and IT projects pledges to never take short-cuts, we can make the difference.

There are two reasons for why I don’t think this is just rhetoric: 1. getting things right from the start can’t happen if we are not committed to it; 2. I am unable to conjure up a single example of anything I have experienced in any dimension of my life that started out wrong and turned out right.

Bruce Fad
VP Professional Services, PRICE Systems