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Posted by on Jun 17, 2014

Now What? When Federal IT Leaders Leave

shutterstock_fedITAny workforce – including the government – is dynamic and will continue to change.  But what do we do when strong IT leaders step down?

Late last month both DoD CIO Teri Takai and head of GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies Dave McClure announced their resignations – both are innovative and strong IT supporters.  Takai and McClure have noted interest to move to the private sector, so the question remains, what are Feds left to do with their massive IT projects when the leaders leave for (often) greener pastures?

It opens the door for new leaders to step in, continue successful policies, and build new ones to further the mission of government.  Agile leaders with excellent training in their backgrounds will push innovation and modernization, best serving their teams, government, and citizens.

To equip these IT leaders with the training they need – we need to think outside the box. A valuable IT project manager should comprehensively understand IT, yes, but a basic understanding of leadership, communications, contracting, and financial management is also crucial to becoming a well-rounded and accomplished IT project manager.

There’s a long standing assumption that IT-focused Feds leave for the private sector because it’s more innovative and financially rewarding. Yes, things tend to move a bit slowly in government when compared to the private sector, particularly in IT.  In fact, FCW recently ran a story, Avoiding the Senior Executive Service, that describes the current hesitancy of possible SES candidates to accept those positions is in part due to the “low pay and a flawed performance-based awards system.” With this SES reluctance and IT leaders like Takai and McClure heading to private industry, the Federal workforce loses valuable knowledge and innovation.

But after compiling lessons learned from projects like Healthcare.gov, it’s time to take a step back, analyze, and reprioritize by arming our Federal IT leaders with the latest and best training, ensuring their skills will guide the projects they lead to success. 

The President’s FY15 budget specifically calls for reinstating a strong and consistent training program for Federal employees. Last year was rough for Feds and contractors alike, but we’re now able to invest in training and seek ways to improve – to make Federal IT projects better.

Are you a Federal IT professional looking to move up and take the reins?  Check out our courses and let us know if we can help you reach that next step.

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