New administration? Hide your IT projects

The best way to avoid getting government information technology projects killed by the next administration is to keep quiet about  them or rename them, an expert advised.

John Kost, vice president of Gartner Group, predicted that IT won’t be a high priority for the next administration, and political appointees likely will regard IT as a nuisance rather than a useful tool.

To save those projects, talk about "what the department is doing on a service level, [but] refrain from calling out specific IT projects,” Kost said at a June 18 seminar.

Meanwhile, emphasizing the potential benefits of an IT program also allows the next administration to rename it, thus adopting it without identifying the program as the outgoing administration’s idea.

Some projects have lived on because of a name change. The e-government initiative and USA.gov survived the shift from the Clinton administration to Bush's.

Kost also recommended that career federal leaders decide what programs they want to retain and formulate strategies based on what might be on the agenda of either major-party presidential candidate.

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