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Power of the World Bank’s Transparent Project Management

I’m at DevHouse:DC right now. It’s basically a gathering of the technologically creative and curious among us. People come to build applications and learn. Naturally, I had to come. It also helps that Andy K promoted it on GovLoop.

A World Bank employee showed me how his organization is applying open data to project management. Frankly, I’m amazed. This is the first time I’ve seen open data successfully applied to project management on a global scale. But first some background.

Not long ago, the World Bank announced it was releasing its data. Nobody really knew what was going to happen, but something wonderful is shaping.

Enter Maps.WorldBank.org. This uses the Mapping for Results Platform to show where all World Bank projects are for specific countries. It also overlays projects with a poverty rate map to show where the World Bank is trying to focus its efforts. You can also drill into each project to see the project lead and budget. The information that you see is also the same information available for the project teams. This is transparent project management.

So where does the World Bank go from here. Well, third world citizens with a text-capable cell phone will be able to send information about a proposed project to the World Bank. That information, whether it’s positive, neutral, or negative, would show up on Maps.WorldBank.org. That lets the World Bank gather information on endangered species where the World Bank is proposing to build a road. This would prevent future problems resulting from information the World Bank would otherwise not have had. After all, the citizens on the ground are your best indicators and reporters of issues. Use them.

I’m excited to see if this approach will be applied to civilian federal agencies. If the federal government proposes to dredge river, the proposal could appear on a map of proposed projects on The Federal Register. Citizens could send public comments and a discussion would evolve around the proposal.

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