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Wisdom of crowds -- IRMCO edition

As I mentioned, I have been on my resort tour over the past few weeks -- last week at Williamsburg for the IRMCO conference and this week in Fort Myers, Fla. for FCW's Government CIO Summit. As I have been writing about for the past few days, we have been focusing on all these Web 2.0 tools -- blogs, wikis, etc... all these technologies that enable -- actually force -- cooperation and change. And generally, I think Web 2.0 stuff is going to be difficult for many agencies because is represents a significant shift in mind set. Government has operated on the belief that they will give people information when they need it. The Web 2.0 world operates with the idea that everybody can access information unless there is a good reason for that information to not be available.

So... back to IRMCO. One of the best sessions at IRMCO last week were break out sessions, and these were very Web 2.0 sessions. Earlier, conference organizers had people sign up for tables and each table was moderated by a senior government official – Karen Evens, OMB deputy director for management Robert Shea, DOD deputy CIO David Wennergren... among other luminaries. Before the session started, Shea introduced the session stressing that OMB was looking for insights – the wisdom of crowds (my words, not his) – for what OMB could do in the next 18 months to help agencies deliver results. It was an innovative and refreshing idea, and, at least at my table, it was a refreshing discussion. And I think there were some very valuable ideas.

Unfortunately, at least for me, they did not leave time at the end to present all the recommendations. (What better way to spur further thought and ideas, right? Tell people what the recommendations were. That would have let the tables of 10 to expand to 100, and they could have tapped into ideas from others.)

So afterwards, I asked if I could get the recommendations. I was interested in posting them and, hopefully, getting more ideas or comments on the existing ideas. The immediate reaction was, 'Well, I don't know if we can release those.' In fact, there had been concern about whether the press would even be able to sit in on these sessions. To their credit, Evans and Shea stepped in both to allow the press to attend and eventually getting me the list of ideas.

The following is the list of ideas. To be honest, I'm not sure what the 'how will the nation be better…' part is. Perhaps I just blocked it out, but I don't really remember that as part of what the discussion was all about. What I do remember is what is highlighted in the second graph below: identifying the critical steps to ensure programs focus on effectiveness and performance management in the next 2 years and beyond and not just on compliance. But I wasn't taking detailed notes, so…

With all of that as background, I present…

IRMCO Executive Roundtable Discussions

May 1, 2007

We first asked the question "How will our Nation better off in 2010 because of what we are doing in the areas of Finance, IT, Acquisition and Human Resources"?

We followed with identifying the critical steps to ensure programs focus on effectiveness and performance management in the next 2 years and beyond and not just on compliance.

How will our Nation be better off in 2010 because of what we are doing in the areas of Finance, IT, Acquisition and Human Resources?

* We will have more transparent information for external and internal customers.

Human Resources
* We will have a competent acquisition, IT, Finance and HR workforce that has clear roles and responsibilities, and can be agile and responsive across the organization.
* We will have hiring flexibilities, targeted recruitment and managers involved in succession planning.
* We will be managing a blended workforce and have clear performance expectations that are aligned to the organizations strategic mission.

Customers and Stakeholders
* We will have increased trust from Congress and the public.
* We will know who our customers and stakeholders are and know their needs and requirements.

Goals and Performance Measures
* Our performance measures are aligned and we are accountable for results. We have uniform performance measures and have a clear understanding of our goals. We hold to our performance plans.

Consolidation and Integration
* We have an organization-wide Enterprise Architecture that is integrated and eliminates duplication.
* We work across agency boundaries and have the tools to help standardize the collaboration.
* Service delivery to stakeholders and customers will be consolidated and efficient.

Critical Steps to achieving Vision

* Ensuring that Federal, State and Local Governments have better communication and aligning with a common set of goals through better communication and tying performance metrics to funds allocation.
* Explaining why we are doing what we are doing throughout an organization so there is a common understanding. The goals and objectives of policies and guidance do not always filter down throughout an organization which results in disconnects between the reporting process on program performance and program implementation. There needs to be an integrated approach to program implementation and the policies and guidance that requires reporting on the status of these programs. Better communication will help integrate these and may require OMB and others to broaden the distribution lists so the information gets to the right people.
* Ensuring the entire team knows what the strategic plan is and getting commitment from top to see it through. Need better internal communications and external marketing of goals, performance expectations and results.
* Putting more emphasis on collaboration on 3 levels: the functional management team (CIOs, CFOs, CHCOs, CAOs); the program level, and the public and private sectors including collaboration among and between these levels.

Human Resources
* Implementing a competency approach for those managing the infrastructure (Finance, IT, Acquisition and HR) and improving the clarity of roles, using a strategic approach.
* Improving the agility of resources across agencies and functions. Ensuring that critical positions have necessary and applicable certifications and that the workforce is developed or recruited with these credentials.
* Linking pay to performance.
* Recruiting new people to the Federal government service at all levels (top down) to drive collaboration and innovation. Have better recruiting efforts and reward mechanisms in place to align with performance goals.
* Further streamline hiring procedures to ensure the government can recruit the needed talent.
* Develop workforce succession plans, especially with the wave of retirements of the baby boomers, and the higher turnover of the new generation of workers in the Federal workforce.

Customers and Stakeholders
* Identifying key stakeholders.
* Being more rigorous at assessing customer satisfaction, need to bring customers into the conversation.

Goals and Performance Measures
* Harmonizing goals and objectives across government, e.g., many agencies work on water management, they may not have common goals.
* Developing the right measures and ensure outcomes are aligned with these measures.
* Adopting a Lean Six Sigma Process in defining measures, and get continual stakeholders input in the process. (Lean Six Sigma for services is a business improvement methodology that maximizes shareholder value by achieving the fastest rate of improvement in customer satisfaction, cost, quality, process speed, and invested capital)
* Developing common metrics for programs and benchmark these against industry.
* Revamping the PMA scorecard – the Federal Government should have a brand value of trust and value of service. We should have a citizen scorecard since they are stakeholders. Assessments can include: E-Gov initiatives, customer satisfaction, best in class, usability, adoption and how many inquiries were made and the effectiveness of the responses.

Consolidation and Integration
* Accepting and adopting Shared Service Providers. The consolidation of services must continue and accelerate. Look at industry return on investment, standards and best practices to ensure service goals and measures are developed in line with these.
* Promoting the use of integrated project teams with participation from management through end users.
* Establishing processes that ensure a management team such as an executive committee made up of the various management functional areas as well as from the program area.
* Improving processes and integrating and aligning the evaluation of program effectiveness and the corresponding reporting requirements and ensuring adequate communication and coordination. Examples include:
o Budget – business case development, clearance and scoring
o Program Evaluation and metrics – Earned Value Methodology
o Program Reviews – FISMA
o Program and FISMA assessment – OIG
* Standardizing processes across Government agencies to improve efficiency in Government.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on May 09, 2007 at 12:16 PM


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