The goals laid out in the President’s Management Agenda will not only help government to catch up with the private sector in IT innovation, but will also prepare agencies to stay on top of the technologies of the next decade, according to Federal Chief Information Officer Suzette Kent.

“We’re trying to create a decade-long strategy but informed with very specific things,” said Kent, who spoke at the Adobe Government Symposium May 15, 2018. “We don’t have a crystal ball, we don’t know what’s going to happen in the next 10 years, but we can lay down a strong foundation so that we can continue to innovate as we go through that.”

The Management Agenda was released in March 2018 and focused primarily on cross-agency priority, or CAP, goals that would help improve government operations across the board. IT modernization and data management earned top spots among those goals.

Part of the foundation needed to accomplish the CAP goals, according to Kent, will be the need to establish diverse teams of innovators across federal agencies that differ in gender, race, country of origin, age and education.

“We have to ensure that the teams that we bring together to drive user-centered design, to drive collaboration and to build the foundation for the government of the 21st century reflects the population that we’re serving. And diverse teams produce better results,” said Kent.

Kent said that the main goal is to make sure that federal agencies aren’t “technology laggards” anymore, which includes getting rid of the piles of unnecessary paper that the government still uses.

When she started her position as CIO in February 2018, Kent said that she was handed a massive pile of papers to sign up for her government benefits.

“I was honestly shocked,” said Kent. “We’re focusing on taking paper out of the system.”

Agencies will also have to be transparent about their progress on the CAP goals, as Kent explained that the federal government will release a CAP progress report every fiscal quarter on the site.

Jessie Bur covers federal IT and management.

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