Agile Becomes a Core Competency of Government

Agile is not a technology but rather an approach. As such, the barriers to adoption are not technical, they are cultural. Moving to Agile requires a complete shift in thinking from waterfall development. No longer is it feasible to set requirements at the beginning of the project and then design to those specifications, not launching until the whole system is complete. Rather, Agile works more in line with the pace of today, emphasizing constant communication to introduce change into the development process and encouraging small elements of the end solution to be released throughout the project lifecycle. Use of Agile in government has come a long way, but there is still room for improvement in how agencies meet digital goals and expectations. Continue reading

Understanding the Technology Modernization Fund

The Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) was created by the Modernizing Government Technology Act of 2017 to more quickly fund needed modernization projects across government. With TMF, agencies can apply for funding to complete modernization activities without having to wait for the budget cycle to begin work on critical digital initiatives. Funding is incremental to ensure projects are working as expected.

Agencies must repay the investment either using the cost savings achieved with the tech implementation or through future budget allocations. The model is working. Of the 11 initial projects to receive TMF funding, two agencies have already reimbursed the fund, and five others have completed their projects and are in the process of reimbursement.

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FITARA 14 Serves as Reset on Modernization Measurement

After issuing the last set of Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) scores, the parties responsible for the program said they would begin examining ways to evolve the measurements to be more meaningful to today's modernization goals. The latest report was issued in July of 2022 and reflected a shift to new measures resulting in eight agencies with declining marks and 15 agencies holding steady with the previous grades. This backslide and stasis is not bad news and was expected given the removal of data center consolidation goals, an area all agencies had mastered with "A" scores.

This 14th FITARA scorecard should be viewed as a measure of where agencies are in relation to newer IT modernization goals. One such measure that drove low scores is the fact that many agencies have not fully transitioned to the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contract. Numerous agencies report that they are close to finalizing the plans to do so and could be compliant with this measure by the next report. Continue reading

Are We There Yet? The Future of Modernization

There's no shortage of mandates and guidance related to modernization-PMA, Technology Modernization Fund, FITARA, Cyber EO, CX EO-pushing the government to update how they deliver services online, but what does it really mean, and what is involved?

Modernization in government began with transforming data centers and integrating cloud computing into government IT architectures and moved on to improving customer experience. Agencies have made inroads in all areas. The recent FITARA scorecard showed that data center consolidation goals have been completed. Cloud efforts have moved from Cloud First to Cloud Smart in an effort to ensure cloud was just not a checkbox but was being used to transform how the government consumes and distributes IT services. Citizen Experience (CX) has been a priority across three administrations with the next generation of CX efforts outlined in an executive order. These modernization efforts have resulted in billions of dollars in cost savings and increased efficiency for a government workforce that is now telework friendly, but the work is not done. Continue reading

Rebuilding Trust in Government Through Service

A survey released in April 2021 showed only 24 percent of the American public had trust in the Federal Government. This was up from 21 percent in 2020 but still near a historic low. Knowing this reality, the Biden Administration made improving customer service a cornerstone of the President's Management Agenda (PMA) Vision with a goal of "delivering excellent, equitable, and secure Federal services and customer experience." This was followed by the Executive Order, Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government, directing government leaders to account for the experiences of the public in seeking government services.

This Executive Order includes 36 customer experience (CX) improvement commitments across 17 Federal agencies, all of which aim to improve people's lives and the delivery of Government services. Services supporting the following focus areas were called out for immediate attention and improvement: Continue reading