Michael Allen Lake

Presentation: Herding Clouds: Combatting False Narratives to Show a Disinterested Stakeholder Audience Why They Should Care

Abstract: In late 2017, the Department of Defense launched a key effort in its much-needed digital transformation. The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) Cloud initiative was the pathfinder effort for enterprise cloud computing at DoD; a foundational technology for the Department if it ever wanted to develop artificial intelligence/machine learning or learn how to leverage data as a strategic asset. Almost from the outset JEDI Cloud was plagued by false narratives, myths, and stakeholder misconceptions. These accusations came from the from the private sector, the media, the Hill, and even from within the Federal government itself. Despite this, the next two years saw the release of the first ever DoD Cloud Computing Strategy, the stand-up of the first ever DoD Cloud Computing Program Office, and the conversion of multiple stakeholder organizations from hesitant bystanders to firm champions of the need for enterprise-wide cloud computing.

This presentation will touch on some of those initial struggles and how crisis communications and stakeholder engagement were critical in building an environment that allowed the project to thrive and move forward. Eventually JEDI Cloud would be cancelled and replaced by the Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability initiative, but that new initiative would be built on the successes that JEDI did achieve.

Attendees at this session will gain a unique perspective and take away insight on how the JEDI Cloud effort:

  • Leveraged strategic communications and bureaucracy hacking to navigate one of the country’s largest bureaucracies;
  • Educated and empowered stakeholders to understand the level of effort required for true and lasting digital transformation; and
  • Impacted the organization so that, despite its cancellation, JEDI Cloud was a success in the groundwork it laid for cloud future efforts.

PMI Talent Triangle: Technical Project Management (Ways of Working)

Biography: Michael Allen Lake is a management consultant specializing in digital transformation and change management with the Federal government. Based out of Washington, DC, Michael has worked on pathfinder efforts in cloud computing and artificial intelligence for the Department of Defense, supported change adoption efforts of the Navy’s Financial Management Data and Digital Transformation team, worked with the State Department on the expansion of their Center for Analytics initiative (State Department’s first enterprise-wide data integration effort), and provided project management and policy expertise for the Department of Homeland Security in the design and creation of a new, enterprise wide credential. For two years he supported the development of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) Cloud solicitation effort and helped to stand up DoD’s first ever Cloud Computing Program Office. In his spare time, Michael researches, writes, and publishes on diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Mongolia in the 20th century.