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The President’s Management Agenda: What You Need to Know

Modernizing outdated technology, improving data accountability and transparency, and creating a 21st century workforce are the key drivers of the president’s newly unveiled management agenda.

“We’re launching some broad strokes around the president’s management agenda today, but we also are here to listen and understand more about the mission,” Office of Management and Budget’s Deputy Director for Management Margaret Weichert said Tuesday during the unveiling event in Kansas City, Missouri — marking the first time such an event was held outside of Washington, D.C. (You can watching a recording of the event here.)

At a high level, the president’s management agenda provides a long-term vision for updating antiquated government systems, enabling agencies to make better decision around data, and providing federal managers with the tools to hire top talent, retrain employees and deal with poor performers, Weichert said.

The specifics of how the president’s management agenda will be implemented are detailed in cross-agency performance goals. The implementation action plans are not yet available on performance.gov but will be released with an update for the first quarter of fiscal 2018.

As part of the Office of Personnel Management’s priority goal, for example, the agency commits to ensuring the implementation of employee digital record data standards by Sept. 30, 2019. This effort will serve as “an initial capability toward federal employees being able to transfer between agencies using paperless processing.”

“I really want to see a day where we get out of paper at OPM,” OPM Director Jeff Pon said at the unveiling event. During the creation of the president’s management agenda, Pon said OMB and OPM considered some of the most pressing issues that the government has been waiting to address for the last 20 to 30 years, in terms of updating personnel systems.

That includes ensuring the government has common data sources for administering healthcare and other benefits, and also for retirement systems, Pon said. In terms of data, the president’s management agenda calls for the development and implementation of a Federal Data Strategy and also acknowledges this effort will take time.

“This work has already begun in meaningful ways, and the Federal Data Strategy will accelerate and scale these practices into a logical, integrated and coordinated path forward to achieve meaningful results,” according to the president’s management agenda. OPM is among the agencies leading this goal, along with the federal chief information officer and others.

“The U.S. government holds some of the most important data in the world: yours,” said federal CIO Suzette Kent. She stressed that the upcoming data strategy will not only solve today’s problems but also serve as a foundation for the next decade.

During his remarks, Pon also called on government employees to get involved in bringing the types of changes he outlined to bear.

“I would challenge you to participate in our projects,” Pon said. “We are going to demonstrate some new ways of looking at the workforce, not only in recruitment or performance management or even separation management — those HR inherent things — but the DNA of how we actually reward people, how our culture works.”

The location of the agenda unveiling was in many ways symbolic of the administration’s efforts to move more resources and services outside of D.C. and closer to the government’s customers. Some 50,000 federal employees work in the Kansas City metropolitan area where Tuesday’s event took place.

Going forward, you can expect to hear more about the president’s management agenda and cross-agency priority goals as the details are fleshed out. The agenda’s release coincides with a listening tour for administration officials, who will make visits to several agencies, including the Agriculture and Health and Human Services departments, the IRS and Office of Personnel Management. There will also be a townhall where officials will talk to employees from several agencies.

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