Today, I want to throw some kudos to one of my favorite agencies, the General Services Administration (GSA). GSA does great things for the federal government and the American people – including save taxpayer dollars. They provide services to federal agencies. But as important, they coordinate important management efforts across agencies, helping eliminate expensive duplication of effort. How do I know? I’ve seen it with my own eyes.
Take web management in the federal government, for example. In 2004, at the request of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), GSA stepped into a leadership role to help implement the E-Gov Act of 2002. Bev Godwin and Sheila Campbell and others reached out across agencies to form working groups that researched and proposed web policies to OMB, to comply with the Act. From that hugely successful effort came the Federal Web Managers Council, Digital Government University (originally Web Manager University), and HowTo.gov (originally the Government Webmanagers’ Toolkit). As a result, agencies no longer have to reinvent the wheel, when it comes to web operations – they can use HowTo.gov to find requirements, best practices, resources, and examples. They can go to DGU classes and learn from experts, with their peers.
GSA has continued to fill a void by coordinating the governmentwide mobile strategy and by spearheading new efforts to reduce waste and duplication in the number of government domains and websites. GSA’s First Fridays program gives government agencies an opportunity for FREE usability testing and hands on training so agencies can continue to test and improve their websites on their own. Believe me – you can pay big bucks to hire contractors to do usability testing.
And that’s not all. The USA.gov team at GSA is working to consolidate web content from across agencies by topic – making it easier for customers to find and use the services they want. GSA is leading efforts to bridge service delivery channels (web, social media, call centers, publications), helping agencies make sure services and information are coordinated and seamless, no matter how customers look for them. GSA is the hub of customer service improvements, across government.
One of the biggest money wasters in government is duplication of effort. You have no idea. The more we can share strategies and policies and operating procedures and job descriptions and statements of work and knowledge and resources, the less it costs the taxpayers. The more we consolidate and eliminate duplication, the more efficient (and effective) government is. GSA provides coordination and leadership to make that happen. They’ve got a great bunch of people there, working hard, and making a difference.
Well done, GSA. Keep up the good work. We notice. And it matters.