DRAIN THE DEFENCE SWAMP
A Blueprint for Weapons Acquisition Reform
How to FIX every Product Development to be more Affordable, Producible and Problem-Free
Author: Gary D. Stewart
Failed Projects litter the sidewalk, often justified by causes outside the control of those responsible for delivery success. The Defence industry is no exception.
Gary Stewart’s “Drain the Defence Swamp” is part 1 in a series of 6 books that aims to systematically address both the strategic and tactical reasons why projects fail and how the vernacular is adapted to paint them a success despite enormous budget, schedule and deliverables shortfalls. This book focuses on the Defence Industry, to illustrate principles, but for a reader who has ever been involved in any poorly delivered project it is easily interchangeable with any industry.
Part 1 of the book is dedicated to providing context on the perspectives of failed projects. It serves to aptly identify that any significant shift in efficiency would actually serve as a threat to all those whose pockets are lined from such inefficiency. After reading this it is difficult to comprehend how any company who does employ efficient development practices developed the fortitude to implement it.
Having identified the symptoms of failed projects, Part 2 of the book lays the foundations for and challenges the need for reform in both defence procurement processes and also proposes a systems-based development process called Worlds Best Practice(WBP2020). WBP2020 leverages the combined experience of a number of known best practice processes such as the Toyota Development System (TDS) and the Munro Development System (MDS).
The author makes a compelling case for change and speaks to some of the fundamentals of an efficient development process. However, as noted by the author, that the topic of leveraging the noted best practices, is far more intricate than a book might give credit and many years of actual experience and a deep understanding of the principles that underpin it is required for any successful implementation.
For anyone who is faced with suboptimal project performance, this book is a useful reference to help understand what drivers cause certain dysfunctional behaviour and armed with that and the basics of what constitutes best practice, construct a blueprint for their own reform.