What are your biggest hurdles for “best practices” adoption in the Gov Community?

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This topic contains 11 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Steve Ressler 8 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #112860

    Susan Hess

    I would love to hear from a variety of organizations on what they face when trying to get stakeholder buy in to improvements, standards, and proven best practices:

    Is it mainly:

    Lack of knowledge, importance?
    Risk adversity
    Lack of understanding of benefits?

    Please free form this discussion as I look forward to many diverse inputs!

  • #112882

    Steve Ressler

    I really like this question.

    Some I’ve seen:
    -Skeptical it’s really the best practice – just cause 1 person in org says it doesn’t mean true
    -Lack of impetus to move – may be a best practice but is ours bad enough that worth changing
    -Our agency is different – don’t trust that best practice – they have different mission, size, etc

    On a personal level, I worked at an agency where a group of people brought in best practices on Project Mgmt. And I’m thinking why I and others were skeptical. Some reasons:
    -They hadn’t got our buy-in. Just felt rammed down throat. Lots of us had our own “best practices” they never asked for
    -We weren’t invested. It wasn’t our problem so our incentive to change was lower

  • #112880

    Mark Hammer

    Change in management.

    At management levels, it seems that every passing dog has to lift their leg on the tree trunk. And that generally means doing things differently. Nothing ever has a chance to become practice as careerists move from position to position. So even when an identified “best practice” (though, color me cynical about their identification) comes in under a new leader, it will be replaced just as soon as the next one comes in.

    We have surveyed federal employees every 3 years since 1999, and one of the consistent observations is that the more supervisors or managers employees report having during the preceding 3 years, the worse a wide array of other workplace indicators are, including perceptions of employee-supervisor communication, autonomy, innovativeness, support for career development, and knowledge-sharing. Similarly, when asked about the impact of “instability within the organization” and “constantly changing priorities”, those who report these bigging a bigger impediment to their own work performance also report a host of other things in their workplace being worse.

    You can throw all the best practices you want at an organization, but the likelihood of them sticking is a function of the stability in leadership.

  • #112878

    Steve Ressler

    I think a good point there too is the skepticism of a “best practice”. Word gets tossed around so much that may have lost its value internally sometimes.

  • #112876

    Suesan Danesh

    I agree that there is skepticism regarding “best practices” and that the notion is overused and perhaps misunderstood. There was a Collaborative Culture Camp held in Ottawa last week for the Canadian public service and one presenter spoke about narrating our work, a concept that was very well received. Ultimately i believe the future of best practices lies in sharing more practices in general, being more open about what we are working on, how we are approaching our work..in essence in narrating our work publicly (through the use of new social tools for example) for the benefit of our colleagues, those in other departments and stakeholders who will then be able to pick up on our work, add to it, fill in blanks, provide timely advice, etc.. they will be narrating their work as well and we will pick up on their work, add to it, fill in blanks, provide timely advice, etc.. This is a way to build best practices collaboratively where “buy-in” no longer becomes an issue.

  • #112874

    Steve Ressler

    Interesting. So more of talking about what working on in real-time and sharing ideas, rather than “Best Practices” a year later.

  • #112872

    Joe Sanchez

    To ask the timeless question about “best practices,” what are the Gov 2.0 best practices and where are they defined?

    These questions go to the heart of the points that @GovLoop (Steve) makes in his comments.

  • #112870

    Jenyfer Johnson

    @Mark – Change in management is the biggest problem and starts at the top.

    Not only do we see it on a managerial level, with every new manager wanting to institute their “best practices” regardless of how an organization currently works…but on a larger level I have seen this happen over and over within the government system.

    We had Quality Circles, we had TQM, we had Mission Statements, we did “off-site meetings” to come up with better ways to function (i.e.quality), then we did the Rapid Improvement Events and Fishbone diagrams and all that 6 Sigma stuff…what’s it going to be in then next go round?? People that don’t “jump on the band wagon” get accused of not being team players but there have been programs that have come and gone and more will come and they will go…they will just have a different flavor and name.

    Colour me skeptical (I suppose that translates as “not a team player”).

  • #112868

    Susan Hess


    It’s the continual issue within: Ram Down The Throat…..

    This is what you are getting…..Deal With It Syndrome.

  • #112866

    Steve Ressler


    So on the reverse side, what do you think is the best way to bringing in best practices?

    -How do you present it as best practice and get agreement? Maybe it’s better to have a 1-day training on a topic and bring in experts. Maybe you need a “Gartner” report. Maybe you need an off-site for agreement?

  • #112864

    Susan Hess

    The ideas are sound BUT!!!: Overwhelming amounts of training in addition to your “day job” lots of time wasted doing process improvements and then it stops…..Case of poor execution…..I completely agree sadly with everyone’s points.

  • #112862

    Susan Hess

    I think one of the best ways to attack the problem is to do the unthinkable: Develop a Private Public Partnership (kind of like what the State Department is doing in certain sectors) with the MOST highly regulated industry in the world…. The banking industry….Wall Street investment houses etc. On the IT side I would implement ITIL, a Shared Services Model, and security stance. When’s the last time you EVER heard of one of George Soro’s or any other major Banking house leaking a trade? SWIFT transfers gagillions of dollars globally every day…..when has that failed? It still continued to work on 9-11.

    So what I am saying in a nutshell is that the knowledge base is out there let’s be inclusive instead of demonizing private sector and open up the platform, embrace and enable the right people, understand the processes, enable them with the right technology and figure out how to get the elephant through the door (quickly before we go another gagillion dollars into debt from rediculousness)

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