One step at a time is prudent

Steve LeSueur

Climbers who reach the top of Mount Everest have little time to celebrate, because what is arguably the hardest and most dangerous part of the climb is ahead of them: They still have to get down without suffering a serious injury ? or death.

So it is for Accenture LLC, which captured the U.S. Visit contract to build a system to monitor the entry and exit of foreign visitors to the United States.

The government contracting landscape is littered with the ragged bones of complex IT projects that went horribly wrong, suffering delays, cost overruns and outright failure. The eyes of Congress, the White House, the media, American industry, even the world will be on Accenture and this project. Even minor stumbles will likely come under intense scrutiny.

For her front-page story, Staff Writer Roseanne Gerin talked with contractors and government officials who've been on the hot seat. She laid out the risks Accenture faces and some of the ways the company can avoid or at least mitigate problems.

And, unfortunately, there will be problems. There always are. Part of Accenture's job will be to minimize the missteps as it continues this climb.

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