Tag Archives: Stephen E Armstrong

The Zen of Government Program Management (aka Lessons Learned from a Defense Program Manager)


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Author: Stephen E. Armstrong

In 1986, I started keeping a list of profound lessons I had learned as an operational test director, defense contractor, government project engineer, and government program manager (PM) for mostly non-major acquisition programs (i.e., ACAT [Acquisition Category] III, IV) and a couple of ACAT I programs. I would jot them down on a special page in my “paper brain” as they occurred to me, sometimes in the heat of the moment, but usually during quiet periods of retrospection. In defense acquisition, we get a lot of education and training in managing research and development, much of which is the best in the world. But most of it is nuts and bolts, driven by the numerous laws and regulations that govern federal programs and contracts. The lessons below aren’t necessarily driven by anything more than common sense, experience and, as W. Edwards Deming put it, “Profound Knowledge” of the system.

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