Powerhouse digital service team taking shape at VA
May 27, 2015
As the beleaguered agency confronts personnel and staffing challenges, its plan to attract the best tech talent is beginning to materialize.
David Stegon was a staff reporter for FedScoop and StateScoop from 2011-2014.
The Office of Personnel Management released the second version of its open government plan that includes five new open government initiatives.
"We look forward to implementing the strategies we discuss in this document, but mostly we are excited to collaborate with you, our external stakeholders, including other agencies and the public," OPM Director John Berry said. "As we leverage the power of social media and economies of scale from centralized call centers, we will be better able to provide the services you expect. We have performance standards in place to measure our progress toward providing superior customer service. Together we can find new solutions to age old problems using communities of practice as open forums for transparency in our processes and public participation."
Enhancing OPM’s Performance Management Culture: OPM is one of several pilot agencies working to move to a GEAR (goals, engagement, accountability, results) framework for performance management. We based our GEAR implementation on the results of a study of OPM’s culture conducted by our Open Government Component and Core Teams. The focus of the GEAR plan is improving transparency, collaboration, and participation to create an environment that expects, measures, supports, and recognizes high levels of performance. The Open Government Forum contributed to the GEAR effort by sharing the strategies and the process for creating a WBS and Action Plans.
Establishing Communities of Practice (CoPs) and Other Networks for Innovation: We have developed a process for establishing and supporting networks to improve problem solving, information sharing, and collaboration within OPM and with external stakeholders. We will now put this strategic thinking into practice through CoPs focused on data and analytics, diversity and inclusion, project management, and employees’ and program offices’ gaps in skills. These are only some examples of the networks we will form. Some CoPs (e.g., the one focusing on skills gaps) will be governmentwide, while others (e.g., the project management one) will, at least initially, be more focused on OPM.
Centralizing Call Centers and Help Desks: OPM will centralize agency call centers and help desks in a logical and orderly fashion. The goal is to provide more logical, less frustrating access to our services through a tiered approach that starts with self-help via our website and goes up to consultation with an expert or the ombudsman’s office, as appropriate. To maintain the independence of the ombudsman’s office, that office will remain capable of receiving complaints from outside the call center process, but in general, offices will share a single entry point into OPM.
Enabling Widespread and Uniform Use of Social Media: At this point we are in the final stages of implementing a policy and strategy to reflect the fact that OPM values openness. The agency plan to implement this strategy in a manner that will increase responsiveness, improve customer service, and support collaboration with external stakeholders.
Proactively Disclosing Information via OPM.gov: To the extent consistent with applicable law, OPM will develop and implement a strategy to make more information available more quickly without the need for FOIA requests. Along with increasing how much information OPM releases, the agency will focus on making it easier for stakeholders to find and understand the information it posts by providing context and organizing the information in useful ways.