This research attempted to capture the creative aspects of government program management in three specific areas: efficiently navigating oversight, capturing the intent of regulations, and developing innovative risk management practices. Respected acquisition leaders with diverse backgrounds and experiences were interviewed with ranks ranging from 0-6 to 0-8 and GS-15 to SES. Several contractor interviews were conducted for specific purposes. The data were iteratively coded and analyzed using ATLAS.ti. The results were categorized into four themes, each with three sub-elements. Differences between respondents with program director experience and those with rapid acquisition experience are discussed. A survey was then distributed to the interviewees and junior acquisition professionals. The predominant research finding is that senior acquisition professionals believe that relationship-building is of paramount importance. This, along with creative practices regarding how to externally communicate program strategies, greatly increases the probability of successfully navigating oversight and obtaining waivers or tailoring regulations. Various risk management techniques and management reserve techniques are presented. In addition, knowledge gaps between the junior acquisition workforce and senior leaders were identified based on statistical significance and corrective actions recommended where applicable. Reports and outbriefs were developed, tailored to each class, to relay these creative practices to junior acquisition professionals.
Proceedings - 10th Annual Acquisition Research Symposium
Keller, B. & Wirthlin, J.R. (2010). "Capturing Creative Program Management Best Practices." In Proceedings - 10th Annual Acquisition Research Symposium. Monterey, CA: Naval Postgraduate School.