Monday, March 14, 2016
In January 2017, the next administration will begin the hard work of implementing the President’s priorities. Regardless of the specific policies, implementation in many cases will require working across agency boundaries. Addressing cross-agency prioriti

By using an enterprise-wide view of how the government can work, the next president may be more effective in getting large-scale initiatives underway and successfully completed, writes University of Massachusetts Distinguished Professor Jane Fountain, in a new report, being released today jointly by the IBM Center and the Partnership for Public Service.

The report offers three key recommendations to the next president’s transition team and the next White House:

Transition teams need to include an enterprise focus.  Dr. Fountain presents new approaches to managing the federal government as an enterprise. She starts with the transition teams. While transition teams have traditionally had policy and agency review teams, few have had teams looking at governmentwide, enterprise issues and challenges. The report recommends that transitions set up enterprise focused teams, and identify which policy and management priorities are government-wide and could be addressed by those enterprise teams (as opposed to agency- or policy-specific teams).

Create a White House chief operating officer to manage enterprise initiatives.To carry an enterprise perspective forward from the transition teams into the new administration – and to maintain focus on cross-agency priorities – she recommends the creation of a White House chief operating officer. The COO would serve as an honest broker and convener of stakeholders focused on the implementation of the president’s key prioritiesthat require an enterprise-wide approach.

Leverage the existing ecosystem of cross-agency councils and tools.The report also provides guidance on how the next administration can use the existing ecosystem of cross agency councils and tools. This includes coordination between the President’s Management Council and the White House policy councils, as well as a series of govermentwide statutory councils such as the Performance Improvement Council, the Chief Financial Officers Council, the Chief Information Officers Council, Chief Acquisition Officers Council, Chief Human Capital Officers Council, and Performance Improvement Council.  Leveraging these cross-agency networks creates a tremendous opportunity to move rapidly on administration priorities.

The report is part of a joint effort by the IBM Center for The Business of Government and the Partnership for Public Service to develop a Management Roadmap for the next administration.   The Management Roadmap is a piece of the Partnership’s Center for Presidential Transition Ready to Govern initiative.

The recommendations stem from a roundtable discussion held in September 2015 with current and former career and political government leaders from varied backgrounds and political affiliations. These leaders brought diverse perspectives, but there was clear convergence on the importance of focusing on cross-agency, enterprise approaches to deliver better results for the next administration.

The federal government is sprawling and complex, but when properly organized and focused can lead to great achievements. Dr. Fountain’s report makes an important contribution in laying out approaches that transition teams and a new administration can use to make government work more effectively, and to accelerate progress on some of the nation’s biggest challenges.