Like the Gordian knot, software is the perennial unsolvable problem for federal agencies. What program manager hasn't been stymied by software that is late, over-budget or just takes years to get right? Unfortunately, there is no quick stroke of the sword to solve this one.
On the other hand, techniques exist to take some of the art out of software development and make it a more predictable process.
Robert Vietmeyer has spent 17 years at the Defense Department working at unraveling software development. He's become something of the go-to guy for advice in a process known as agile development. He's an adherent of Agile Manifesto: "Agile teams value individuals and interactions over processes, working software over comprehensive documentation, collaboration over contract negotiation, and responding to change over following a plan."