The National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) and Project Management Institute (PMI) released a new report today on how to build a more agile Federal government, and provided five recommendations for how government can move in that direction.

“Our study team conducted research and analysis to consider how agile government differs from current management practices, what major issues and impediments hinder agile adoption, and what various departments and agencies need to do to unlock the true potential of agile,” NAPA President and CEO Terry Gerton said.

“The result is a set of five practical recommendations with specific implementation steps that we believe can increase agility,” Gerton said. “This report is designed to help Federal leaders and managers infuse agile thinking throughout their agencies, leading to better outcomes and improved trust in government.”

The report emphasizes that the top priority when establishing an agile government is customer or end-user satisfaction. Toward that goal, it says that staff members should be empowered, small teams should do work in multiple short periods of time, and individuals should operate within a focused set of networks. It also recommends that innovative tools and working approaches should be used to facilitate innovation and support problem solving, risk should be identified and addressed early, and focus should be placed on “doing.”

The five recommendations within the Building an Agile Federal Government: A Call to Action report include:

  1. Make agile government the preferred operating model across the Federal government and make agile a cornerstone of the President’s Management Agenda;
  2. Champion agile inside Federal agencies and incorporate the concept into as many activities as possible;
  3. Identify key barriers to agile functioning within the Federal government and address those within the nation’s checks-and-balances system and legal framework;
  4. Highlight agile approaches, successes, and challenges across the Federal government; and
  5. Ensure readily-accessible training opportunities and approaches are made available by department and agency leaders.

“Agile is key to unlocking Federal potential and realizing outcomes,” said Mark Lines, VP of Disciplined Agile at PMI. “Whether at the project, program, or agency level, agile approaches can increase efficiency, decrease cost, mitigate risk, and most importantly, deliver outcomes that meet and even exceed the expectations that citizens have of their government.”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.