42 Days of Intelligence Gathering

No one decision determines success or failure of a project. Yet project leaders point to a single step that proved crucial to the success of the Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid, or caBIG.

That step? Meeting with stakeholders in the research community before developing the technology itself.

“When you look back at the program, one of the reasons it’s been as successful as it has was those early discussions with the stakeholders,” says Mark Adams, a senior associate at Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. (BAH).

As the project’s general contractor, BAH directly manages all caBIG contracts and ensures coordination and accountability of those contracts. Adams is BAH’s caBIG program manager, making him the senior person overseeing the firm’s caBIG activities.

The National Cancer Institute launched caBIG in February 2004. As the project got under way, program staffers, working in five teams, visited 49 centers in 42 days to develop a detailed accounting of issues, needs and capabilities within the biomedical informatics community.

“We took an IT person and subject matter expert to every place and asked about needs, what are you good at, where do you need help and what are your interests,” Adams explains. “We didn’t go and impose a framework on people. We went out and asked and then built an organization based on where we perceived a need.”

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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