Weekly Roundup: October 28 to November 1, 2019
Michael J. Keegan
Agencies lag on IT workforce planning, GAO says. Federal agencies are lagging on planning activities designed to improve the information technology workforce, according to a new report.
The report from the Government Accountability Office dives into how large federal agencies are doing implementing a GAO framework designed to assess and address gaps in skills in the federal IT workforce.
An insider's guide to avoiding procurement fraud. Outright criminal procurement fraud is thankfully rare, but compliance issues in federal contracting often have legal ramifications. Good communication can help, according to a new book.
DOD data strategy nearing release. The Defense Department's data strategy could be public in a matter of weeks. Department of the Navy Chief Data Officer Tom Sasala said at FCW's Oct. 30 Emerging Tech Workshop that, "with any luck," the long-awaited document will be released "sometime next month -- November." The final draft is just nine pages, Sasala said. "We took all implementation details out of the strategy," he said. Instead, each service branch and the secretary's office is required to develop its own implementation plan. The slimmed-down strategy is "not magical," he said, but it does provide a solid framework to guide each service's data efforts.
Practical advice on how to give a better presentation. I just saw an interesting post that is about as practical as you can get. It was called How to look and sound confident during a presentation, by Camine Gallo, an author and consultant. Gallo starts off by pointing out that “research shows that people form impressions about a leader’s competence in as little as half a minute. This means, within seconds, listeners will decide whether you are trustworthy, and they will do it based on your body language and vocal attributes. What you say and how you say it are equally important.”
3 strategies to grab an audience's attention. Grab the audience's attention during your next speech by using a joke, a bold statement or a question, writes Jim Anderson. "The reason that we are willing to go [to] the effort of creating a speech for an audience is because we want to find a way to connect with them and perhaps change their lives using the benefits of public speaking," he writes. The Accidental Communicator
I enjoy the performance versus mastery approach outlined by Amy Kan in her piece on LinkedIn: How to Ensure You Are Always Successful. Great lesson for all of us!
Leadership and the pursuit of speed for strategy execution. The role of top leaders in guiding strategy creation is well documented. Less understood is that once the strategy is formed and shared, the leader’s actions must focus on minimizing organizational friction -- the processes, cultural nuances, and political and personal impediments that threaten the organization’s need for speed-of-execution. It's the failure of top leaders to focus on and minimize friction in key areas that slows down or derails so many otherwise good ideas.
Muscle Building. Federal News Network reports: “The final implementation plan for the Federal Data Strategy is less than a month from release. . . . Agencies have been lining up internal resources to begin tackling the goals of the plan all summer, naming a new set of chiefs—data, statistical and evaluation officers.. . . Suzette Kent, the federal chief information officer, said the Federal Data Strategy, and its corresponding implementation plan, will drive improvements to how agencies deliver on mission and services as well as supporting economic research and development and national security.”
From Vision to Action. A group of agency leaders write in Government Executive: “At the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), a component of the National Institutes of Health, we’ve found a way to use our strategic plan to align, integrate, and functionalize the historically disparate areas of planning, performance, risk management, and business process improvement.”
Purging Classifications. Federal Times reports: “The Office of Personnel Management proposed Oct. 24 to get rid of nearly 50 federal job classifications that are underutilized by agencies or outdated when compared with industry standards. . . . These series selected for cancellation have approximately 25 or fewer incumbents governmentwide.”
Product not Project. Veterans Affairs staffer Kelly O’Connor writes in Federal Computer Week:: “The lack of product roles in government is just one indicator of a larger problem: Government is using traditional project management methods but expecting great digital products….and it's not happening. Moreover, individuals are investing in costly professional certifications, such as the Project Management Professional (PMP), which isn't going to help them deliver better products to users.”
Using Data to Drive Savings. Federal News Network reports: “The General Services Administration is following a simple mantra to guide its agencywide modernization effort—eliminate, optimize and automate. . . . So far in just the Public Buildings Service alone, the EOA approach has saved almost $2 billion with a goal of saving $5 billion by 2024.”
2019 Federal Standard of Excellence. Results for America released its scorecard on the maturity and capacity of selected federal agencies’ ability to conduct program evaluation and make decisions based on evidence. The Millennial Challenge Corporation and USAID come out on top!
Learn More from Successes. Government Executive reports on a recent study that concludes: “Contrary to common beliefs about learning from failure, you learn more from success, according to new research. . . . “Our society celebrates failure as a teachable moment,” write the study’s authors, who found in a series of experiments that “failure did the opposite: It undermined learning.”
Failure Is an Option. Federal News Network reports: “Since 2015, millions of dollars have been invested in the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit, the agency watched as some of its projects fell flat, and only about 23% the organization’s completed projects ended up in the hands of troops — but the thing is: DIU is completely fine with that.”