Groundbreaking D.C. “results-only work environment” initiative halted; 550 employees await new mayor’s verdict


Outgoing Fenty administration halts the D.C. Office of the Chief
Technology Officer’s transition to a “results only work environment.”


Read the complete story at Center for American Progress.

“We don’t want to make policy decisions for the incoming administration
that haven’t been vetted by them,” said City Administrator Neil Albert
in an interview this week. “So we’re taking this time to make sure they
concur with the direction and vision.” The decision to “pause” the
results-only experiment was not made at Gray’s bidding, according to
Albert, and is part of a general plan to forestall all “high-level
policy decisions” for the new mayor’s transition team. “This decision
was made solely by the Fenty side,” Albert said, referring to outgoing
Mayor Adrian Fenty, who will leave office in January.

Still, the move appears to confirm widespread fears of employees at
OCTO, as the 550-person information technology agency is known, that the
political upheaval of Fenty’s September election loss would endanger
CTO Bryan Sivak’s promise of a government workplace that rewards
productivity and enterprise—not face time and rule-following. OCTO
employees in September focus groups said their chief concern was that “a
new mayor will come in and [ROWE] will be doomed.” Employees voiced
similar concerns last month at the inaugural meeting of the internal
ROWE “design team.”


This is the fourth in a series of weekly dispatches from the District of
Columbia’s information technology department, which is transforming
into a “results-only work environment” where employees can work where
they want, when they want—so long as they meet predefined goals.

Washington’s 35-year-old Chief Technology Officer Bryan Sivak predicts a
radical results-only culture will boost worker productivity by 30
percent and enhance employee morale at a time of hiring freezes and
budget cuts. Sivak has agreed to let CAP’s Doing What Works project
attend internal meetings and planning sessions as his 550-person agency
tries by January 2011 to become the first government department in the
country of its size to “Go ROWE.”

Read the complete story at Center for American Progress.

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Adriel Hampton

This shows the real importance of political events for gov innovators. Fenty made the right move here. Honestly, I was troubled to read about Brian Sivak pushing ahead without consulting new leadership (no direct knowledge, just following this story) when his 550-member IT staff felt like their future was uncertain. That said, it was great to see the open coverage of this initiative, and I look forward to seeing ROWE experiments unfold elsewhere, and perhaps even in DC again.

Adriel Hampton

To expand just a bit, I hope that the new DC leadership is open to innovation at work and to exploring the benefits of ROWE. Best of luck to Sivak and his folks during this transition (and my bad for not fully understanding DC politics – as there wouldn’t have been an opportunity to talk to Gray and his team before yesterday’s election).