What To Do About Mission Critical Failures And Utter Disarray In Security Projects?

A manufacturer offered an insightful comment about serious problems in major security projects:

"Having been intimately exposed to the shortcomings, unkept promises, mission critical failures, and utter disarray that has all too often been described by end users with respect to CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE (and I don't use that term loosely), or even just a 20 camera system at a middle school, frankly, it is sometimes startling."

What do you think? Is this a real issue? If so, what can be done to deal with it?

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**** **** ******* ***** ** ****** ** ** *** *****. We ****** ******** **** ***** *** **** *** ******* ********** before ******. *** ****** ****, ***** ********* *** ***** *** at ****** ******* ***** ** ****** **%.

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**** *********** ***, ************* **** ******, ******* *********** ***********, **** Accountability, ******** ** ******* *** ******* *** ***********, *****'* *** success *** ********* ************, ******** *****'* *** ******, ********, *********** milestones

******* *********** ********* & **** ********** ***** *** ****** ********* and *********** ** *****, *********, ********* .

****** ******** ***** **** ********** ( *** **** ******'*)

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**********, ********, ************* *** ******* *** ** *** ******* *******.

** *** ******* **** *** *** **** ********, ****** *** concepts ****** *** *******.

****** ** ***** ******** ***** ** *** **** *** *********. Congressional ********** .

****** ***** ** * **** **** *** **** . *** What * ** *** ***** , *** ***** *** *** take *** ******* *** ***** *** *** *** ** **** with ** ****** ********** .

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**** * ****** *** ***** ******** *** *******.

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** * ********** , *** ** ******** **** ******** ******* flexibility ** *** ****** ****.

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**** ***** *** *** **** ****. ****** *** ******* *****

**** *************** **** ******* *** ***********. ** ***** * ***** add:

  • Get **** ********** *** ******* ********** **** *** ******* ****, so that problems are caught early when the cost to correct is smallest.
  • Perform ***** ** ******* *******, ***** ** ******** *** **********, *** ******** **** *** ********. **** "$**-****" ******** **** fail ********** *** *** ** ****. *** ******* ** ****-***** video ********* ** * ******* ($*.**), * ***** ********* ********* system ** ** ******* ($***). ***** ***** **** ****** **** stopped ** **** ******* ** ** ********** ********* ***** ***** of ******* **** **** ****** *** ******* ***** ** ** the ***** **** ** *** *******.
  • Inspect *************, as the work is being done, not all at once at the end. Many big project schedule-killing final-acceptance punch lists could have been eliminated by progressive inspection.
  • Do *** **** ******** ** ***** ** ********. "Project completion" by integrators means "acceptance of operational responsibility" by the end users, and "well-readied end users" should be an important project objective. Few things kill the excitement of project completion for the customer, than to have security personnel who are struggling to use the new technology, especially if it is a replacement or major upgrade project, and operator performance suffers due to unfamiliarity and "surprises" that features don't work in exactly the way they were expected to.
  • Define ******** ********** ********* (normal operations and incident response) to establish requirements for how the technology should perform. Base them on things that are easiest to do with the existing technology (don't lose current capabilities), as well as hard or impossible to do with the existing technology (maybe why they bought the new solution). Scenario-based requirements (concept of operations) are much better understood and much more useful than "the system shall" type of requirements.
  • Always ** ******** *** ****** **** *** ******** ***** ******* ******. I know this is a hard one, as you can't be in a technology deployment business without being an optimist, and optimism seems to go into overdrive when things start to slip. I have seen projects big and small go sideways because an over-optimistic project manager reported "almost dones" as "dones" to the customer, and then couldn't catch up as more of these accumulated. Projects can hit "80% complete" and then stay there while lots of activity takes place but little progress that's visible to the customer, because the list of issues has been kept hidden. In ALL project situations I have seen, the customers would not have been anywhere near as unhappy if the small slippages had been accurately reported and even if the integrator had asked for more time. When the trust factor is strong (by accurate status reporting with periodic customer walk-throughs or inspections), customers can be very forgiving. When the trust factor goes away, projects can become living hell for all parties, and the integrator is then cut no slack at all. Plus referals are lost and customer bad-mouthing to vendors and project stakeholders can expected.