The Directive Model

The IV&V Group®  has identified four models to  implement the OMB directive to use voluntaryconsensus standards (Circular A-119).  Today we will examine the directive model.

In the directive model the CIO or other high ranking official determines that is advantageous for the agency to adopt voluntary consensus standards.  The designated official then signs a directive that is binding on all internal system and software programs and projects.  The directive may binding on external contractors or the directive may state that all products created by external contractors will be evaluated against voluntaryconsensus standards.  The directive may also state that any product that does not conform to voluntary consensus standards will not be accepted by the agency.  Additionally, the directive might state that any externally developed product that uses the agency’s backbone or connects to an in-house system must be developed using voluntary consensus standards.

Advantages to using the directive model is that the specifics of implementation are specified.  Project managers know what they have to do.  All members of project teams are immediately held accountable.  This model is best used by an organization with a well-defined chain-of-command.

A significant disadvantage to using the directive model is that some program managers may push-back because they have not been consulted and/or because their programs are developed outside of the CIO or other high ranking official’s arena.  They may neglect to use the standards or they may not monitor the use of the standards.  There is no opportunity to validate the guidelines before they are implemented.

In future blogs the project, consensus and hybrid models will be described.

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