Report: IT helps agile organizations

The President's Management Agenda is driving agencies to use information technology to be able to respond rapidly to changing requirements, or mission agility, according to a report released June 20 by the Association for Federal Information Resources Management.

The report, drawn from a May focus group held with 10 senior government officials, presents their views on federal e-government. Among the key points:

  • It is clear government agencies will be under increased pressure to become more agile.

  • An agile organization will push decision-making downward, thus eliminating executive bottlenecks.

  • Agencies will embrace some of the characteristics displayed in times of crisis, where parochialism and bureaucracy tend to go out the door.

  • There is a balance between agility and cost: How much is government willing to pay for organizational agility?

  • In program management, agile leadership is not always desirable, especially when it affects system delivery.

  • Agencies want agile vendors who understand and can work within their infrastructures.

  • Enterprise architectures support organizational agility by defining how to quickly build and deploy core components.

  • A common set of higher-level, "balanced scorecard" metrics across departments would help achieve the kind of common vision necessary to overcome an organizational "silo" orientation.

  • The first working premise should be that IT security is a concern of everyone in the organization, not just the security officials. Security should be built into all aspects of the IT infrastructure, not added on later.

  • Even with additional training, if the system is not set up to reward governmentwide thinking and actions, agility will not happen.

  • It is imperative the government plans for disaster recovery, redundancy and replication; it has to establish various layers of IT security protection to have the IT flexibility and agility it wants and needs.

  • All too frequently, IT programs receive priority; now it is the IT infrastructure that must be given priority.

  • A copy of the full report, including a discussion of the significance of these results and responses to the five questions upon which the report is based, can be found at

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