Post-Sequester IT Strategic Planning

I'll leave it to the political pundits to read the tea leaves on the yes/no/how long of sequester-driven cuts to US government spending. What I will say is that a climate of cut-over-growth will remain with us for the foreseeable future. Regardless of what happens over the next few weeks, federal CIOs will be forced to grow services, capabilities, and constituent engagement concurrent with flat or decreasing budgets. This is not a short-term shift. It's high on the list of themes being communicated across government. You can see it in Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel's FY2013 Budget Priorities, which has the theme of "Doing More With Less."

So, what should a government CIO do? I'm going to have to assume that CIOs will already have their short-term contingency plans in place, should the forced budget cuts kick in. However, it's also time to start thinking about what will follow, once things settle down. As a start, consider the following on your to-do list:

  • Review your agency's strategic plan — and start discussing what changes to it are anticipated based upon various budget scenarios.
  • Discuss how IT will be expected to support the transition from current to revised plans and goals.
  • Review your IT strategic plan, road maps, and delivery schedules in light of revised budget, staffing, and organizational changes with the new priorities in mind.
  • Review programs, projects, initiatives, and staffing to ensure optimal use of staff and resources.
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