BPM Strengthens OMB’s Program Management Initiative for IT Planning

Part Two of a Four-Part Series (see Part One)

One of the most often discussed problems facing the federal government is the graying of the workforce. As more senior employees look to retirement, what can be done to fill the knowledge gap created by their departure?

Strengthening program management is one of the underlying themes behind the OMB’s recent 25-point plan to improve federal IT, announced in December 2010. According to the plan, this requires (among other things) a best practices collaboration platform to help even the newest IT managers make better decisions.

This is an ideal application of BPM software. Procedures and institutional knowledge are often only retained in the memories of long-time workers. Finding out what these people do today (i.e., modeling their processes) is crucial. That visibility enables process improvements to be implemented. Standardizing the execution of those optimized processes is crucial for getting new employees up to speed and productive quickly. Codifying optimized processes, driven by business rules, creates a standardized documented system that can be understood and practiced by the next generation of workers.

Beyond workforce enablement and career development, the benefits of business process management in developing a best practices collaboration platform are obvious. Consider the Customs Border Patrol (CBP), which is using BPM to manage and monitor the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) project. The WHTI project encompasses multiple methods for identifying travelers and assessing potential security threats at the US borders. BPM technology gave WHTI the active project management, process visibility, documentation audit trails, and collaboration capabilities needed to efficiently manage concurrent development and deployment across 63 distinct sites.

Collaborative best practices also offer tangible benefits to the mission-critical functions within agencies where the next generation of IT program managers are plying their trade.

In our next blog, we’ll look at how BPM helps implement another important aspect of the OMB’s overhaul of federal IT – namely, aligning the acquisition process with the technology cycle.