Your politicalbosseswillinvariablyrunforthehills, leaving you alone under the spotlight at the first signoftrouble,suchasabidprotestoraWall Street Journal, New York Times, or a Washington Post investigation. If this occurs, and you should expect scrutiny because billion-dollar programs interest manyplayers,yourbestoptionistocloserankswith your career officials who have the experience and contactstobringclaritytothesituation.Ifyoublame your staff, look for a scapegoat, or try to rewrite history,thegameisoverathalftime.Youlosebyfour touchdowns.
Bring patience and endurance to the table. Procurement, especially a negotiated procurement, is tedious and frustrating because of the endless rules. Hardly anyone knows or understands them all. There are always surprises. Congress meddles whileintroducingnewlaws,conductingcommittee hearings and sometimes applying indirect pressure on specific procurements. Companies bring their own pressure to the process and may try to get you firedifyouaregoinginadirectiontheyfeelisnotin theirinterest.
Avoid a major grand design system requiring a negotiated contract. These can be enjoyable in the planningstagebecauseasaseniorprogrammanager, you will receive a lot of attention from the trade presslikeGovernment ComputerNewsandFederal Computer Week, and there will be many invitations tospeakatthemanyforumsfortheWashington, D.C.technologycrowd.However,numerousofthese billion-dollar grand designs do in fact fail in part or completely. Press your staff to build systems in an incrementalmannersoyoucanredirecttheprogram asyouandyourstaffgainexperienceeachstepoftheway; andnoteworthy,thisbecamegovernmentpolicy in 2014.
In protests, do not expect too much from your agency lawyers. They work many issues, not just technology, and are very busy. They are generalists trying to respond to a wide variety of legal issues facing your agency. In addition to your issues, they must deal with issues raised by Congress, companies, and grantees, non- profit associations representing industry, individual taxpayers, and even employees. These keep your agency lawyershopping.
Source, Chapter 35, Spring Training for the Major Leagues of Government
Understanding and working through the many challenges in high-level government jobs.