Thursday, January 29, 2009
To address this question, I think we need to start by looking at the agency’s mission, and then examine our strength, weakness, opportunities and threats. From here, we can look at our strategy to remain competitive (and viable) in the market to serve our mission.
From the 2004 Strategic Vision document, our mission is stated as follows:
- To provide the agencies and organizations which make up the three branches of the Federal government with expert printing and publishing services, on a cost recovery basis, in order to avoid duplication and waste of government resources.
- To provide, in partnership with Federal Depository libraries, for nationwide community facilities for the perpetual, free and ready access to the printed and electronic documents and other information products, of the Federal government.
- To distribute, on a cost recovery basis, copies of printed and electronic documents and other government information products to the general public.
The vision was stated as follows:
- To deliver Federal information products and services from a flexible digital platform.
Our strategy to meet the opportunity and fend off the threats can be outlined.
1. We will understand the market we serve in light of our mission as outlined in Title 44.
This isn’t a new action, but one that needs to be carefully addressed given the rapid changes in technology, which translates to rapidly changing market needs. For FDsys, we worked closely with our end user community; librarians, agencies, congress. Focus groups and councils were formed to communicate with these groups to get their input into what they felt was needed in a new system, and to also validate that we understood them. These groups formed a good basis for candidates for beta testers. This process of involving the customer/partner is critical in successfully meeting market needs.
2. We will accurately capture requirements.
We have a number of examples, both good and bad from which to draw. Concentrated requirements working groups work well for this, with customer/partner follow up as required to validate these requirements are understood.
3. We must innovate.
Innovation is the process of devising a product or service that addresses the customer’s/market’s unmet needs. The output of the innovation process is a concept that, with a supportive business case, enters the product development process, where product design is completed and design conflicts are resolved. Practically speaking, a winning concept must also meet GPO’s success criteria. We need to maximize GPO's value through innovating solutions to meet or exceed needs, delivering solutions to position GPO to be the natural source for authentic Federal information.
4. We must organize in a way to assume a posture of serial innovation to efficiently meet new market needs as they emerge.
We need to have plans to continue to anticipate and understand GPO’s market needs and be prepared to address these with effective solutions in a timely fashion. Our organizational structure coupled with new policies (like our System Development Life Cycle process) and governance (Planning and Strategy board serving in an oversight role for strategic direction and capital investment planning) will support this, coupled with continued diligence into market assessment and active voice of customer work.
5. We must deliver.
We need to develop the integrity within the agency to do what we say we are going to do. This can be accomplished through prioritization of initiatives and through establishing effective organizations to implement projects to meet our goals.
Reference: GPO's Strategic Vision
Friday, January 16, 2009
The initial launch of GPO's FDsys went live yesterday. This release includes the search and access elements of the system, introducing a vastly improved user interface over the GPO Access tool that has been in production since 1994.
The team has done an outstanding job getting a very complex system completed. In early 2008, the program management of FDsys was changed, moving GPO into the role of the prime contractor. Harris Corporation was ineffective at getting this difficult task completed. When this change was made, the team committed to delivering the first release in January. In less than a year, the GPO team contracted new subject matter experts, completed the system design, and led the development, integration, and test activities to launch this system. It was an terrific example of excellent teamwork and collaboration, doing whatever it took to complete the job on schedule.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Additionally, I believe that innovation should be approached on a “needs-first” basis. This is an approach to innovation in which companies first uncover all the customer’s needs, then determine which are unmet, and then devise solutions to address those unmet needs. This approach to innovation has, at times been difficult to use effectively, mostly because it is difficult to identify and capture the customer’s needs. Capturing customer needs to drive innovation is a critical step and enhances the performance of the eventual product or service in the market and therefore is worth the effort required.