Alan Balutis, senior director and distinguished fellow at Cisco Systems, Martha Dorris, former head of the Office of Strategic Programs at GSA and Alan Shark, executive director of the Public Technology Institute discuss the first year of the President’s Management Agenda, and how it can improve moving into year two.
The President’s Management Agenda is officially a year old, and with the recent White House budget request, experts are reflecting on the success of the PMA so far. Alan Balutis, senior director and distinguished fellow at Cisco Systems, says the implementation of the agenda gives many people hope that it can continue to be successful moving forward. “I think there’s always the tendency when any new group of new political leaders come in to start anew and I think management reforms of Fortune One companies like the U.S. federal government can’t be achieved in the 18-to-22-month life expectancy of a political appointee,” Balutis told Government Matters. “You need years and years to bring change to acquisition financial systems, human resources systems that have been in place for 50‑60 years, out dated I.T. systems and the like. The fact that they opted to build upon what was in place earlier was reassuring.” Martha Dorris, former head of the Office of Strategic Programs at GSA, explains that because the foundation has been set, agencies can begin reviewing their own practices and improving interaction with customers and users. “In the customer experience area, they have laid the foundation by setting requirements in place for agencies to begin getting feedback from customers and actually looking at that. Creating action plans as a result of self-assessments,” Dorris said. “That’s never been done before, so you’re going to get to see looking at your customer, looking at the user and then creating action plans… to make it easier for the customers.” Alan Shark, executive director of the Public Technology Institute, says the next step for government agencies should also focus on facilitate citizens trying to communicate with the correct government agencies. “Now we have to learn from this, how do we have a smooth pathway between all the different agencies?” Shark says, “So people don’t have to worry about navigating who do I have to call? Is it federal [government]? Is it state? Is it local?”