LEAN, MEAN AND MISSION-READY?
Lisa Mascolo, CEO, Optimos
Pressure to increase transparency, reduce spending and tightly align programs with agency mission, focus and speed continues to mount. But in today’s environment, fast and focused won’t be enough to meet expectations. It’s a proactive mindset and agility, driving smart speed-to-value, that will win the day. Are you ready?
As federal departments and agencies strive to respond to never-ending requests for smaller footprints, smarter decision-making, and faster results, it’s important to recognize that full speed ahead in a straight line often leads to the wrong finish line. Today’s priorities will be overridden by tomorrow’s, and if your attention, investments, and teams are concentrated on one rigid plan, you may not be able to respond effectively to changing demands.
So what does the agile agency leader do?
Accept agility as the most desirable trait in your organization. Nurture it, promote it and look for opportunities to harness it. Reward transparency, simplicity, focus and collaboration.
Accept that speed is important, but momentum in the wrong direction, undeterred by changing conditions or requirements, leads to overruns and failure. Constituent and legislative demands, technology and techniques evolve too fast for rigid, multi-year, high-dollar projects.
Prioritize your agency’s needs for today’s challenges and tomorrow’s opportunities. Be prepared for priorities to change. Today’s successful government manager understands and accepts this reality and is looking for new ways to drive speedy results in a fluid and uncertain environment.
Whether you run the mission or the IT function supporting the mission, there are three characteristics that you and your organization must embrace and embody – agility, speed to value and adaptability.
By promoting the value of agility at every level of your organization, you can help ensure that your team leverages the right people, partners and opportunities to help you deliver. Agility is not just about software development life cycle (SDLC) methodology; it’s an organizational mindset. It’s about encouraging communication and collaboration and valuing divergent ideas.
By emphasizing speed to value, you make it clear that you embrace the difference between “customizable” and “configurable.” By applying this concept, in terms of both capital expenditures and O&M, you can dramatically alter your organization’s responsiveness and cost structure.
Understand disruptive change, prepare for it and adapt to what comes next. Applying this three-step approach to managing organizational progress will serve you and your team, well.
Focus on your mission and “buy by the drink” for everything else.
Don’t let lead times result in lag times.
Understand your organizations culture and pick your battles carefully.
This isn’t rocket science, but it is a change from the status quo. Be agile, value speed to the right solution and assume a monkey wrench in the works at some point after the start of the program. Now is the time to think smaller, smarter, faster, cheaper™.