What Non acquisition Managers Need to Know About Procurement

The role of the nonacquisition manager is critical to proper stewardship and oversight and to achievement of strategic outcomes. I learned this during the scrub-down of many misbegotten federal acquisitions while in government and as a government contractor. With this in mind, I have culled, from the recently updated How to Write a Statement of Work (SOW) and its companion reference tool,
Federal Statements of Work: A Practical Guide, those best practice contributions that…

What Do Feds See in the Green Mirror?

How does the U.S. government view its sustainability efforts, compared with how businesses perceive their own? As it turns out, there is a great deal of similarity between what the government sees in the mirror and what the private sector sees in its reflection. Government and private businesses share many of the same core sustainability values, expect comparable bottom-line benefits, and encounter some of the same barriers to further progress. What’s more, they can probably learn a lot of the same lessons.

Virtual Worlds and Social Media Drive Results and Training

With increased constraints on both time and budgets, today’s leadership must find creative solutions and strategies to deliver needed training. The National Highway Institute (NHI) has harnessed the power of virtual solutions, mobile and social media, informational videos, and distance learning to complement its traditional training role and respond to the challenges its partners and stakeholders face. These tools allow NHI to innovatively solve issues such as travel restrictions and time constraints while maintaining high-quality and cost-effective instruction. The new delivery formats also allow NHI to reach a wider audience over the past few years.

Virginia Transportation Agency Seeks Performance-Based Certification

Departments of Transportation (DOTs) across the country are challenged to maintain their roads and bridges in the face of large fiscal budgets cuts. Because the work does not diminish with the budget cuts, much of the labor and inspection processes are being transitioned to personnel in private industry. Certification programs help ensure consistent levels of quality across individuals who inspect the manufacture, delivery, and application and maintenance the roads and bridges. The Virginia DOT…

VA Taps into New and Innovative Solutions

The Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation (VACI) identifies, prioritizes, funds, tests, and deploys the most promising solutions to VA’s most important challenges. The VACI team is led by Jonah J. Czerwinski, who also serves as senior advisor to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. The team taps the talent and expertise of individuals both inside and outside government by funding new, innovative solutions that increase veterans’ access to VA services, improve the quality of services delivered, enhance the performance of VA operations, and reduce or control the cost of delivering those services that Veterans and their families receive. VACI manages a $100 million portfolio of more than 120 innovations.

Use a Competency Library to Build a Talent Management System

A competency library is a critical foundation for building an integrated talent management system. In the Talent Management Handbook (2010 second edition), authors Kim Ruyle and Evelyn Orr state that the value of competencies is proven to positively impact both mission and financial return-on-investment. Agencies that use a comprehensive competency library to build their integrated talent management system are able to realize human capital and budgetary gains.

Understanding the Path Forward in Federal Human Capital

Efforts to refine the government’s pay and promotion system have floundered. How can we develop and bring a new model to the majority of government employees? Most federal employees work and are paid in a General Schedule system that has been in place since 1949, when a vastly different group of occupations, skill sets, and management principles were practiced. In the last decade, The Performance Institute, a think-tank in performance management and accountability for…

Tough Economic Times Call for Authentic Leaders

These are tough times for public servants. With the nation awash in debt, federal employees are sometimes branded as ineffective and inefficient. Floating around Washington, D.C., are proposals to extend the current two-year pay freeze to five years, increase employee retirement contributions, slash the federal workforce by 10 percent, and use furloughs and buyouts to manage cuts in agency budgets. Draconian, some say. Entirely possible, most admit. What should federal managers do? There is much advice on what to do, but little counsel on how to do it.

Three Trends Affect Social Media Adoption in Your Agency

While social learning is gaining in momentum among chief learning officers, chief talent officers, and heads of human resources, there are a number of barriers to adopting social learning for an organization. To implement social learning, one has to understand the larger trends affecting the changing workplace, as well as key barriers that prevent the adoption of social learning inside the organization. Three mega trends are having a huge impact on organizations: the increased use of social…

The Past Present and Future of Social Media At USGS

It’s no surprise that the use of social media within the government sector has been exploding over the past several years. The possibilities to improve government using social media are endless. Having a social presence is expected. It’s progressed to a point where, if someone asks if your agency is on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+, and you respond “no,” you’re scoffed at. While it’s tempting to jump into the water head first, you need to know what’s waiting for you beneath the surface. Here…

The More Things Change

Ron Sanders, chairman of The Bureaucrat Inc. Board of Directors, introduces the first all-digital issue of The Public Manager. Although we have gone digital in an effort to be more timely, we haven’t abandoned our original mission: to serve today’s (and tomorrow’s) public managers by presenting the latest strategies, tools, and techniques to help you do your job better.

The Limitations of Applying Private-Sector Models to Federal Operations

Total quality initiatives in the early 1990s, Vice President Gore’s National Partnership for Reinventing Government, and President G.W. Bush’s President’s Management Agenda each attempted to incorporate private-sector management best practices into federal operations. Now President Obama and Congress see a bloated federal bureaucracy requiring restructuring. Another round of reform initiatives will be no more successful in the critical area of labor cost control than past efforts until government leaders recognize that federal managers operate in a fundamentally different decision-making environment than their private-sector counterparts.