Ann All on changes in the federal government IT process:
Federal CIO Vivek Kundra appears committed to improvement, saying that beginning next month the government will provide detailed twice-yearly updates on how well agencies are implementing his 25-point federal IT reform plan. Created by Kundra and the Office of Management and Budget with collaboration from past and present federal CIOs, Congress and the private sector, the plan was released in December. It proposes major changes in federal IT governance and procurement as well as infrastructure and systems.
Take a moment and digest what's going on here: the Federal CIO's office worked with the Office of Management and Budget, past and present federal CIOs, Congress and the private sector to develop what amounts to the strategic plan for the operation. Do you think that's an easy thing to do? We don't. Throw into the mix a commitment to produce a progress report against that strategic plan twice a year and, well, in any other context it would feel less ironic to say it might take an act of Congress to get this done.
All's piece points out some great resources and analysis if you're interested in IT process re-engineering. But in quick summary, she offers this from a 2008 state task force report on IT failures that are absolutely prescient:
- Create standardized written policies for IT project procedures and uniform IT policies and procedures across agency lines. Government agencies are finally starting to realize what manufacturers and other private sector companies have known for quite some time: Companies with standardized processes operate more efficiently and cost-effectively than their less-standardized peers.
- Use off-the-shelf software whenever possible, and require approval for software customization.
- Create work environments in which employees can raise and resolve issues.
- Require executive sponsorship for all IT projects.
Even as All's piece is focused on IT management, the lessons are far more broad. Simplify and streamline communication to enable your people to do more, more quickly, more clearly, without increasing the burden of support.