Dec 31 2009

Learning Curve

Here's a rundown on new core competencies for CIOs.

Every two years, the CIO Council reviews and updates what it considers the skill set — or core competencies — that federal CIOs and their staffs need.

The creation of this competencies list is a mandate of the 10-year-old Clinger-Cohen Act. Over the years, the council has fleshed out the skills and developed learning objectives to help government systems shops improve their information technology management.

For the latest update released this winter, a team that included dozens of government, industry and academic officials reviewed and revised the competencies and the series of accompanying learning objectives (LOs). The new version includes five new competencies and their LOs:

IT Portfolio Management

What to do:

• Discuss what’s required to move from assessment of individual IT capital investments to an integrated process for managing them as portfolios.

• Establish analysis criteria and a process to tie portfolio objectives to vision, mission, goals, objectives and priorities.

Where to find help:

• Title 40, Section 11101; OMB Circular A-130; and GAO Guide AIMD-10.1.13

Records Management

What to do:

• Identify and discuss the impact of records and information management on systems design and the integrity, authenticity and preservation of electronic records, information assurance and Freedom of Information Act compliance.

• Discuss records management’s role in developing and maintaining IT resources that support business needs and processes.

• Describe the full life cycle of information from creation or acquisition through its destruction.

• Discuss strategies that contribute to cost-effective, productive information services.

• Discuss legal and regulatory records-management requirements.

Where to find help:
• Title 44, Chapter 31; E-Government Act; OMB Circular A-130; NARA regulations

Software Acquisition Management

What to do:

• Discuss the elements of a well-defined agency for acquisition policy for software.

• Construct a standard solicitation proposal and evaluate vendor qualifications.

• Discuss common causes of cost, schedule and performance problems.

• Apply requirements management and risk mitigation techniques.

• Discuss the use of software acquisition models and tools to manage life-cycle planning.

• Evaluate performance measures and metrics.

Where to find help:

• OMB Circular A-11, OMB Circular A-130, OMB Executive Memorandum M-04-19 and the Software Engineering Institute

Technology Management and Assessment

What to do:

• The council has not set any specific learning objectives yet. But it notes, “The ability to ensure effective development and deployment of technology requires a broad awareness of current and emerging technology capabilities, standards, policies and law.”

Cross-Boundary Process Collaboration

What to do:

• Identify collaboration enablers for e-gov and information-sharing initiatives and determine technological and cultural challenges.

• List and discuss the benefits, costs and unintended consequences of outsourcing, and identify best practices for partnering, contract management, and skills and knowledge retention.

Where to find help:

• This is uncharted territory.