Weekly Roundup: August 10-21, 2015

Developing Common Success Metrics for VA-DOD Health Records. According to FedScoop: “The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Pentagon need to better track their efforts to share health information, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.” GAO says the two departments have developed guidance to move toward standardization, but have yet to develop metrics to track whether progress is being made. Useful: FCC RoboCall App. According to FedScoop, the Federal Trade Commission sponsored a contest to find the best way of blocking robocalls.

Budgeteers MAXimize Their Line of Business

Former federal budget officer Doug Criscitello participated on a panel on budget reform recently, in a room packed with concerned finance professionals. He noted: “It is clear the key practitioners in the field are desperate for improvements in a process that has not only failed taxpayers in recent years but has also hindered the ability of government finance professionals to plan and execute the financial management programs of their agencies in a responsible way.” It may take years before such reforms are possible, but what happens in the meanwhile?

Weekly Roundup: August 24-28, 2015

John Kamensky IT Acquisition Gets “Killer Apps.” According to Federal News Radio, GSA has posted several “killer apps” that acquisition officers can use to speed IT-related purchases “An automated contract finder and cost calculator are just two of the tools GSA leadership touted as reasons why the government acquisition community should explore the online portal and provide feedback, said Laura Stanton, acting assistant commissioner for GSA’s Office of Strategy Management.” Predicting the Unpredictable.

Replacing the Use of Cubits

A cross-agency initiative to Benchmark and Improve Mission-Support Operations has been underway since early 2013 when it was announced by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Today, the preliminary results of the effort are being used to inform discussions between agencies and OMB in their first-ever “FedStat” meetings on how well are agencies managing their administrative functions and ultimately delivering on strategic objectives.

Bringing Design Thinking into Government Bringing Design Thinking into Government

But design thinking is so much more than a physical product. It is a way of thinking. For example, if you were asked to design a new vase, you might come up with myriad product designs. But if instead you were asked to design a new way to display flowers in your home, you would likely focus instead on creating an experience, not a product. Background. Jon Kolko, the director of the Austin Design Center, shares his insights about design thinking in the September issue of Harvard Business Review.

Weekly Roundup: September 28 - October 2, 2015

Try Before You Buy. In a Government Executive column, Shelley Metzenbaum writes: “Well-designed small-scale testing can help government achieve greater impact not only at a lower cost but also in more fair, understandable ways. Government should embrace “test marketing” as a business-as-usual management practice, not an exceptional event.” Mid-Level Rotations.

Using Performance Info to Make Decisions

The Government Accountability Office is mandated by law to track the progress of agencies’ implementation of the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010. It’s summary highlights “mixed progress” but the report’s details show a great deal of progress. The report covers a range of issues, summing up a series of related reports over the course of the past year. But the core issue is: are agencies using performance data to make decisions? The track record hasn’t been promising.

Weekly Roundup, October 5 - 9, 2015

OMB Releases Updated Agency Priority Goals. OMB director Shaun Donovan announced the Administration’s final set of two-year agency priority goals (APGs) as required by the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010. The 92 goals, listed on performance.gov, include new as well as continuing efforts. VA Sets BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal) for Its APG. According to NextGov, the Tom Allin, chief veteran experience officer for the Department of Veterans Affairs, has set an audacious Agency Priority Goal: 90 percent of veterans will trust VA to meet its commitments – by September 30, 2017.

Weekly Roundup: October 12-16, 2015

Maryland StateStat Tweaked by New Governor. The Baltimore Sun reports that the nationally-recognized program of data-driven progress reviews, pioneered by then-governor Martin O’Malley, has been tweaked by his successor, Larry Hogan. According to the Sun: “Hogan issued an executive order creating the Governor’s Office of Performance Improvement, calling it an "important step" in his administration's effort to reduce waste and bureaucracy. Staffing has been reduced and the scope of the office has been expanded. Utah On-Line.

Fixing the Federal Budget Process?

A recent report by the Partnership for Public Service paints a grim picture of what it sees as dysfunctions in the relationship between the executive and legislative branches, observing: “Polarization, acrimony and intense partisanship regarding matters both routine and critical to the country’s well-being have become the way of life in Congress and throughout Washington.” For the past four decades, there has been a formalized set of budget and appropriation processes, often called “regular order.” These broke down toward the end of the George W.

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Senior Fellow
IBM Center for The Business of Government
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Mr. Kamensky is a Senior Fellow with the IBM Center for The Business of Government and an Associate Partner with IBM's Global Business Services.

During 24 years of public service, he had a significant role in helping pioneer the federal government's performance and results orientation. Mr. Kamensky is passionate about helping transform government to be more results-oriented, performance-based, customer-driven, and collaborative in nature.

Prior to joining the IBM Center, he served for eight years as deputy director of Vice President Gore's National Partnership for Reinventing Government. Before that, he worked at the Government Accountability Office where he played a key role in the development and passage of the Government Performance and Results Act.

Since joining the IBM Center, he has co-edited six books and writes and speaks extensively on performance management and government reform.  Current areas of emphasis include transparency, collaboration, and citizen engagement.  He also blogs about management challenges in government.

Mr. Kamensky is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and received a Masters in Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, in Austin, Texas. He can be reached at: john.kamensky@us.ibm.com

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