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An Optimistic Thought

The Voyage of Life: Manhood, painted by Thomas Cole - see below for more about the painting I feel guilty that most of my posts are just complaining – about government procurement , IT implementations , or even the difficulty of staying on top of our electronic lives .  Yet, I consider myself to be an upbeat person, so I want to share some thoughts on a book I’m listening to right now, because its optimistic message is worth hearing. *********************************************************************************************** Disclaimer: All of the ideas expressed in this article are my personal statements and opinions, and do not reflect the opinions/statements of the City of Urbana. *********************************************************************************************** The book is The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After 50 , by Jonathan Rauch and here is the key point: the aggregate of many happiness studies (over the past few decades) show that happiness de

Tectonic Speed of Government, Part 2: Why do Government IT Projects Take So Long?

This is part two of my series on why government IT projects take so long. Part one complained that the Purchasing process is tough to navigate because methodically describing what you want to buy - and documenting your decision making - takes effort. That blog helped me vent some frustrations about parts of my job, although I admit that it was a little dry. (But please, this is Government Procurement.) With part two I’m on my home turf: the process that starts with the purchase of an IT tool and ends with its everyday use by people. If the process was successful, users are doing their jobs better than they did before. (A less successful outcome that also occurs: it’s harder to do their jobs, but at least their managers have better data.) This process, which I’ll refer to as the “Implementation” or “Project,” can take months or years for any organization - let alone a government. My first section explains why government IT projects take a long time, while the other three suggest

The Tectonic Speed of Government, Part 1: Procurement

This post is my reaction to conversations about how hard it is to create change in government, and how government projects (and IT projects in particular) take so long from genesis to completion. This is part 1, about procurement; part 2 will address project implementations . PS - there was a surprise Part 3 of this series later! Warning : what follows is an “inside baseball” discussion of government IT procurement. I’m not trying to dissuade you from reading it, but if you’re not enmeshed in this world you might want to consider reading my articles on lighter topics like organizing your electronic life , the greatness of Abbey Road , or the story behind The Room . If you ARE enmeshed in this topic, then please don’t overlook my call to action at the end! Changing the process will take a group effort, and I’m hoping to get feedback on my scheme to create a library of reusable software specifications. By the way, this post’s first title was “The Glacial Speed of Government” bu