Friday, November 17, 2017
The IBM Center's Weekly Roundup highlights articles and insights that we found interesting for the week ending November 17, 2017.

Michael J. Keegan


VA needs money fast for health record program. Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin is ready to sign a contract with electronic health records firm Cerner to replace the agency's aging, homegrown Vista system. But to get moving on the deal quickly, VA needs to move some money around. The department wants to move fast, with an initial rollout of the new system planned for 18 months after the contract is signed.


How to fix information sharing, according to industry. Secret cyber threat data and a clunky clearance process are barriers to bidirectional information sharing, industry representatives told Congress.


What's behind agency FITARA scores? Agencies shared the stories behind improved, declining and stable FITARA grades.


FITARA progress stalls. Federal CIOs under the Trump administration have seen progress lag on implementing the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act, according to the latest scorecards.


How does civil service efficiency square with agency reorgs? While shared services and other tech can help streamline government, federal workforce experts are skeptical about whether budget cuts can spur productivity


An important new guide to agile. Steve Kelman applauds a new resource for agencies looking to put agile into action.


John Kamensky


Evidence-Based Policymaking Bill Passes UnanimouslyGovernment Executivereports: “The House on Wednesday voted unanimously to pass an amended Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act (H.R. 4174)  to require agencies to more systematically assemble data for their decision makers before evaluating programs.”

Evidence-Based Policy vs. Predictive Analyses. Linda Springer, in an interesting op-ed in Government Executive, expresses fear that evidence-based assessments of effectiveness may not be enough to improve government for the future, and offers an alternative view.

Targeting Non-Statutory GuidanceGovernment Executive reports: “Much of the alleged burden of far-reaching or duplicative regulations stems from the accompanying guidance—policy memos, “Dear Colleague letters” and FAQs—prepared by regulators without stakeholder input, agency officials confirmed to a House oversight panel on Tuesday.”

IGs and DataNextGov reports on a new study by the Partnership for Public Service on the evolving role of Inspectors General: “Instead of just ensuring agencies are compliant with existing regulations, inspectors general should think of new ways evaluate whether those programs are successful.”

Category Management UpdateFederal News Radio reports: “It’s been a year since the Office of Federal Procurement Policy released and accepted comments on its draft circular around category management. . . . With little-to-no activity on the draft circularover the past year, it seems OFPP is taking a less permanent route to further institutionalize this approach to buying.”

Agile Guide. Steve Kelman’s column in FCW highlights a new guide on the use of Agile software development, noting: “the two most important parts of the guide are the related discussions of the role of the agile “product owner” (a new phrase from the agile world) and contract management for agile.”

Agile? Not! Federal Times reports: “Deficiencies in management, certification and organizing were found in a Government Accountability Office review of federal agencies’ moves to eschew traditional IT development in favor of agile methods. . . . only four of the [24] reviewed agencies had clearly defined policies for incremental development in IT investment.”

Fall Back . . . . Should be for clocks, not for FITARA Scorecards! Federal Times reports:The November 2017 Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act scorecard spells bad news for many agencies, as six of the 24 agencies evaluated dipped below their June 2017 grade and only three managed to improve their scores.

GAO Recommends CAP Goal. A new GAO report: “recommends that OMB consider developing a goal that addresses a coordinated federal approach to child well-being among its next set of cross-agency priority, or CAP, goals, including working with relevant agencies to ensure their strategic plans include related goals and objectives.”

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The Business of Government Hour: Conversations with Authors Series on Federal Acquisition. What are the challenges of acquiring complex products? What lessons can be learned from the Coast Guard’s Deepwater program? How can government executive most effectively manage complex acquisitions? Join host Michael Keegan as he explores these questions through the works Trevor Brown and David Van Slyke authors of several IBM Center reports on federal acquisition.

Broadcast Schedule: The show airs Monday at 11 a.m., and Friday at 1 p.m. on Federal News Radio 1500AM WFED