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Archive for June 9th, 2009

DorobekInsider: The benefits of the federal IT “dashboard” – and the liner notes for DC’s NewsChannel 8

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I’ll be on DC’s NewsChannel 8 in the 7:30p ET half-hour — their Federal News Tonight program — and I’ll be talking about dashboards.

Some of the issues we’ll be covering:
* What is a dashboard anyway? What’s new here?
* How does this work?
* Why are these useful?
* Didn’t the Federal CIO Vivek Kundra use a similar kind of IT governance process when he was the chief technology officer in Washington DC?

This grows out of a speech last week by Federal CIO Vivek Kundra, speaking at ACT/IAC’s Management of Change 2009 conference in Norfolk, VA last week. During his speech, he gave the audience the a preview of a dashboard that will track IT systems.

A peek at the Kundra IT dashboard

A peek at the Kundra IT dashboard

When he started demonstrating it, I pulled out my iPhone and snapped a photo. This was only the opening page. (I had the choice of taking notes or continuing to try and take photos. Note taking won out.)

Essentially, the dashboard is the Obama administration’s IT governance. Essentially, the dashboard will be something like the Bush administration’s scorecard, but it will be more real time and it will be more transparent. And the idea of the dashboard builds on the concept of the dashboard of your car — something that gives you data that lets you make management decisions.

Curiously, there are many people who have been somewhat flummoxed by the concept of the dashboard.

I have to imagine that this process will give additional visibility into how IT systems are progressing. Often, the data for the Bush administration score card would go disappear into OMB — and people weren’t really sure what happened to it. It was often unclear what an agency could do to improve. And people often felt as if once they got onto the OMB management watch list, it was like crazy glue — you couldn’t get off the list.

The more transparent dashboard should highlight what is working — and what isn’t.

Interestingly, Kundra used the concept of a stock market when he was the DC CTO. More from CTO Vision:

Totally new, innovative ways to manage IT portfolios were created and used to ensure all stakeholders could evaluate the technology program and better make informed decisions on when to terminate programs and where to invest more money. Chief among these innovations was an approach to portfolio management that replicates a stock market trading floor. More important, however is the relentless focus on performance and innovation to support performance. Beside rethinking these notions of governance Vivek also took measures to smartly watch/reduce/reprioritize IT costs.

So it will be interesting to see what happens.

Several resources about dashboards:

* Federal News Radio: OMB to measure IT projects through a dashboard

* Daily Debrief: Dashboards: coming soon to an agency near you?
We spoke to John Cimral, the former CEO of ProSight, which created a commercial software product for creating these dashboards. The company has since been bought by Oracle and Cimral has moved on, but we asked him for insights about how difficult it is to create these dashboards. Hear that conversation here.

Written by cdorobek

June 9, 2009 at 5:24 PM

DorobekInsider: GSA names Danielle Germain as chief of staff

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The General Services Administration has named Danielle Germain as the agency’s chief of staff, replacing Cathleen C. Kronopolus, who has been acting chief of staff since January.

Most recently, Germain worked at the National Academy of Public Administration. Previously, he worked at the American Council for Technology/Industry Advisory Council.

The GSA chief of staff job is a key post. Remember that GSA administrator nominee Martha Johnson served as the GSA chief of staff under former administrator David Barrum. But another person who served in that post: David Safavian.

The release that went out this morning:


Germain sworn in as GSA chief of staff

GSA Welcomes Danielle M. Germain as Chief of Staff

WASHINGTON — The U.S. General Services Administration announced the appointment of Danielle M. Germain as Chief of Staff, effective immediately.

In this role, she will oversee the Office of the Administrator, ensuring effective and efficient staffing of agency programs and projects, guiding the agency’s continuity of operations planning and emergency response efforts, and maintaining liaison and facilitating coordination with GSA’s 11 regions.

“I am both excited and honored to serve in the Obama administration in this capacity,” Germain said. “As the federal government’s premier provider of superior goods, services and workspace, GSA is perfectly positioned to help the President advance his recovery agenda. Important work has already begun in critical areas such as modernizing federal buildings, greening the federal fleet, and using technology to strengthen the relationship between Americans and the federal government.”

Germain has extensive experience working with organizations in the good government and federal information technology communities. Before joining GSA, she served as Director of the Collaboration Project at the National Academy of Public Administration, a nonprofit, independent organization chartered by Congress to tackle government’s most complex management challenges. She led the National Academy’s successful White House Recovery dialogue on IT solutions; and the first of its kind national pilot project on citizen engagement sponsored by the Federal CIO Council, Office of Management and Budget and GSA, titled “A National Dialogue on Health IT and Privacy.”

Before working at the National Academy, Germain served in management positions at the American Council for Technology/Industry Advisory Council; the Council for Excellence in Government as the Director of Technology Programs; the Information Technology Association of America (now TechAmerica) and IBM’s Office of Governmental Programs. Germain also served as a congressional aide to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

A native of Nashua, N.H., Germain earned her master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in 1998 and a bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College in 1993.

Over at GovExec’s FedBlog, NAPA’s Dan Munz was filling in and scooped me on Friday:

I had the great good fortune to work with Danielle here at the National Academy for nearly a year, and she is a stellar choice for this position. Aside from a host of great personal and leadership qualities, Danielle’s passion for collaboration (both the Interwebs kind and otherwise) will be a key asset in making sure that GSA — which has been a real leader in government’s social networking efforts — maintains that position and continues to be a pacesetter across federal space. All of us here at the National Academy wish her luck and success in this exciting new challenge. (And for once, I get to cover a National Academy personnel change before Chris Dorobek!)


Meanwhile, all eyes at GSA are on the Senate, where Martha Johnson is expected to be confirmed as the new GSA administrator. Yesterday, Johnson was approved by committee.

Written by cdorobek

June 9, 2009 at 8:36 AM