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Busting the Myths Surrounding a Powerful Tool for Agency Reform

April 05, 2018

The April 5th “Shared Services Myth Busting” workshop at the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) was an enormous success. The event was hosted in partnership with the Shared Services Leadership Coalition and the Senior Executives Association.

High-level takeaways from the April 5th workshop include:

  1. The absence of the “voice of the customer” is a consistent failure in the implementation of shared services. Most shared services experiences were top-down, with little or no consideration of the needs of the ultimate consumers.
  2. Size matters. Small agency needs (EEOC) are much different than large agency needs (DHS), but there is frequently no distinction made when implementing inter-agency shared services plans.
  3. Mission requirements come first. Any shared services plans that negatively affect mission capabilities are a non-starter. Examples include hiring highly technical talent at an S&T agency or impinging on DoD armed services HR functions.
  4. The different “flavors” of shared services are not known to consumers of shared services. The three categories of shared services in the PMA were new to most participants and it is evident that an education effort is required.
  5. The PMA is seen as a positive way to implement shared services. A long-term effort to implement shared services that are consistent with the goal of modernizing federal government processes was perceived as a good rationale for shared services.
  6. There are “quick wins” that could be accomplished in the very short term. These included burn centers, shuttle services, etc.
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