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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Who's missing from CIO IT Solutions Challenge?

The new federal CIO Tony Scott is launching a challenge program for federal IT and IT acquisition workforces.

He’s creating several small working groups comprised of what on his blog he called rising stars in the GS-9 to GS-13 range. Agencies will be nominating people for spots on these working groups.

He wants these groups to look at policy and procedural problems within their agencies and across government. They’ll have mentors who will help with brainstorming, problem identification, workplan development and execution.

In the fall, each team will present their solutions and work with IT leaders on the steps needed to implement these solutions.

He said that the CIO IT Solutions Challenge will be an annual program. But at least one group is missing. 

Scott doesn’t include the private sector as members of these teams. I’m sure there is some sort of regulatory restriction barring an employee of a contractor from being a member of the team.

But I do hope these groups of rising stars reach out to their contractors and to industry groups for ideas and insights.

I think the challenge is a great idea, but there has to be more involvement from all the stakeholders and constituencies. It has to include contractors, IT leaders, and the actual users of the IT systems that are being procured.

I can’t help but think about a former senior government official who told me that it wasn’t until he went into the private sector that he realized the negative impact many of his decisions had on the private sector.

Something as seemingly simple as a delay in a procurement had significant ripple effects across the contractor community. In some cases, this meant layoffs and lost wages.

He told me he might have made some decisions differently if he had known the impact.

So, while I applaud the idea of a challenge, I just worry that the scope of participants is too narrow.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Mar 09, 2015 at 10:36 AM


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