Pointers: Recommended reading for the week of May 18

Assessing White House 2.0

Source: Information Week

Blogger Mitch Wagner compiles a number of articles, blog posts and other reactions to the Obama administration’s latest social-media initiatives (see FCW’s story here).

For example, New York Times blogger Saul Hansell wonders about the privacy implications of an agency “friending” private persons on MySpace and thus getting access to anything they post. What guidelines exist for protecting that information?

Jeff Chester, director of the Center for Digital Democracy, is also concerned about privacy, specifically how social-media advertisers might use public/private interactions as marketing leads.

Anthony Ha, a blogger for Silicon Valley-based VentureBeat, has been underwhelmed so far, but he hopes to see improvements over time.

5 early signs that a project is in trouble

Source: CIO magazine

You know a project is off track when it goes over the budget or misses a deadline. By that point, though, a lot of damage is done. So CIO’s Paul Glen highlights early warning signs that can help project managers get a jump on trouble.

For example, one sure sign is that project leaders frequently issue new directives or provide no leadership at all. “If a project either lacks direction or can't maintain a reasonably consistent course, it's unlikely to get to any desirable destination,” Glen writes.

Also look for a disconnect between information technology managers and business managers. Such conflicts wreak havoc on projects and rarely end well for the tech team. “In political battles between IT and business management, business management usually wins, even if it takes a while,” Glen writes.

How to measure employee engagement

Source: Workforce Management

The Gallup organization has developed a 12-question survey that managers can use to determine if employees have bought into an organization’s mission.

Several of the questions focus on whether employees feel their organization supports them in their work by providing clear expectations and the necessary materials and equipment.

Other questions highlight their working relationship with management: Do supervisors provide positive feedback and encourage and support professional development? Is management interested in employee input?

Surveys have found a strong correlation between employees' level of engagement and their productivity, Workforce Management notes.

The Facebook management muddle

Source: ComputerWorld

The use of Facebook is creating a whole new set of challenges for managers to deal with, writes ComputerWorld’s Jake Widman.

The problem is that work colleagues often invite each other to be Facebook friends, blurring the line between work and personal lives. Perhaps your employees are careful about posting updates appropriate for general viewing, but their personal friends might not feel so constrained.

Even worse, your employees might post inappropriate remarks related to the job. “If the information they're sharing is what five albums have most influenced their lives, fine," Widman writes. "If the information they're sharing is that your division might miss its new product ship date ‘by a mile!!!!!!,’ that's not fine.”

One last point: Some organizations have tried to limit the use of Facebook at the office by blocking access. But that is not a viable solution because the site now enables users to file status updates via cell phones.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group