The 2022 Fed 100: What you need to know

The power of the individual informs FCW's coverage each and every day, but with the Federal 100, we take time to really spotlight and celebrate it.

To do that, however, we need the help of everyone in the federal IT community -- because it all starts with building the broadest and best possible pool of candidates. So do your part, and start working on your nominations today. 

The ground rules

First of all, anyone who is part of the federal IT community is eligible for a Federal 100 award. Generally, that means agency employees and select members of the federal contracting sector, but past winners have included academics, independent watchdogs and even a member of Congress or two.

Second, anyone can submit a nomination. Floating oneself is usually a bad idea, and nominations that are clearly driven by commercial interests are rarely effective, but a broad pool allows the judges to make better picks.

Third, an individual can win multiple Federal 100 awards over the years, so long as he or she has a new accomplishment that merits the recognition. Eagle award winners, though -- the one government and one private-sector winner selected from each year's Federal 100 as the best of the best -- have their number retired and are not eligible for future Federal 100s.

Nominations must be submitted via the online form. There is no "save this for later" option, so be sure to have the nomination drafted and ready before starting to submit.

Basic contact information for both the nominee and nominators is required, but three short "essay questions" form the heart of the nomination. Winning nominations tell a compelling story about:

  • The nominee's job. What is he or she tasked with doing in the federal IT space, and how has that work been executed? What about this qualifies as "above and beyond"?
  • The nominee's impact. Hard work without results might be noble, but it does not warrant an award. What did this person accomplish?  In particular, what was accomplished across 2021 that would warrant this recognition?
  • The nominee's background. What enabled the nominee to step up and make a difference? Federal 100 awards are given for specific accomplishments, not lifetime achievement, but the work of 2021 can be put into a larger context.

Note that these are not long essay questions -- character-count limits allow roughly 250 words for each.

The process

In short, the community nominates, FCW picks the judges and the judges decide. The timeline, give or take a few days, looks like this:

  • Nov. 1 - The nomination form is published, and 2022 Fed 100 nominations are accepted.
  • Dec. 24 - Nominations are due by 11:59 p.m. ET.  The deadline for submitting nominations has been extended until 11:59 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Jan. 11
  • Early January  - All nominations are compiled into print binders and electronic dossiers and delivered to the judges for review.
  • Late January - Judges gather for a daylong selection meeting; 100 winners and a handful of alternates are chosen.
  • Early Febuary - Winners are verified, and any questions raised during judging are addressed.
  • Mid February - Federal 100 winners are announced.

The intangibles

The Federal 100 judging is a subjective process, one that draws heavily on the expertise of the IT leaders who volunteer their time to read and assess the hundreds of nominations. There are, however, some basic do's and don'ts:

  • Focus on an individual's accomplishment. This is an all-star team for the past year, not a lifetime award, so don't dwell on long and faithful service. Be specific about what the project encompassed and what the person did that was extraordinary.
  • It is the accomplishment and not the job title that counts, so describe the person's contribution and show why the project is important to the community at large.
  • We know teams are important, but this is an individual award. 
  • The 2022 Federal 100 awards are for work done in the 2021 calendar year. If the nominee is a previous Federal 100 winner, the accomplishment behind this nomination should be substantially different from the work that was recognized in an earlier year.
  • This is not a popularity contest. Nominate people who have had a significant impact, even if they are not universally liked.
  • Ask before you add someone's name as a supporting nominator. Every year we have at least one judge who is stunned to find his or her name on a nomination he or she knew nothing about. That rarely has a positive effect on the discussion.
  • If you are nominating an industry person for work done at a government agency, it helps to have government corroboration. If ethical considerations make it difficult to enlist an agency employee as a supporting nominator, try to get third-party substantiation.

Get started today!

Details matter, so start gathering notes now. Identify colleagues who deserve the recognition, round up others who will sign on as supporting nominators (a single nomination can have up to five nominators) and assemble the evidence to show what makes this person great.

In the judging process, nominations that come in on "opening day" are not given any advantage over those that are submitted in the final hours. But those that are written and polished in advance almost always do better than those that were slapped together to beat the deadline -- and would-be nominators who come asking about a late submission in late January or February(!) are out of luck till next year. So start early and spare everyone the holiday stress.

If you have any other questions about this year's Federal 100 Awards, please contact Troy K. Schneider at tschneider@fcw.com.

Note: It appears that GSA blocks access to SurveyMonkey (which powers the Fed 100 nomination form) from at least some portions of the GSA network.  If you are unable to access the form, please try from outside the office, or contact us directly.

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