Key Area to Consider in Open Government Planning: Strategy Planning and Development

Importance of Strategic Planning in Open Government Planning: As with the Legal considerations outlined in the previous post, Strategic Planning falls under the Policy side of the Open Government methodology. Federal agency’s Office of Policy Development (OPD) or another strategic planning organization would be the primary groups responsible for thinking through how Open Government could be integrated with the existing organizational strategic plans, performance plans, and departmental priorities and objectives. The new Open Government strategic objectives would need to be developed in alignment with the agency’s mission and strategic goals, and also the new performance measures would need to be added to the existing host of agency performance metrics, making sure the progress toward the Open Government transformation at each agency is tracked and the strategy is appropriately modified as the time goes by.

Linkages with the Open Government Directive: One of the mandates of the Open Government Directive issued by the White House on December 8, 2009 is to develop an Open Government Plan within 120 days (April 8, 2010). It is paramount for the Open Government plan to be based upon the strategic direction that leadership is committed to for the fulfillment of the agency’s mission and goals. Therefore, participation of representatives from the agency’s policy shop in planning the agency’s strategy for Open Government is truly important, as their input would help avoid the development of goals, objectives, or performance measures that are not consistent with where the organization is planning to focus most of its attention and resources in the coming years.

Open Government strategy must also be aligned with agency’s overall strategy for Information Technology. Agency’s IT staff will ultimately be essential in the implementation of the Open Government plan, once it’s approved. The Office of Policy Development would be instrumental in helping bring IT, Operations, and Mission Services strategies and priorities to the attention of the Open Government strategy development working group, emphasizing the importance of integrating all Open Government ideas and initiatives with the existing plans at each organizational level.

Finally, the policy group would help identify key criteria for the development of a good Open Government plan. They are the experts in how the agency prefers to structure its strategic and performance plans. They will help build in appropriate risk factors and risk mitigation strategies into the Open Government plan, aligning it with the acceptable risk threshold at the agency. They will help tie the Open Government strategy with all of the important laws, policies, and procedures the agency operates under. The policy group will serve as an important barometer, helping keep the development of the Open Government strategy in line with all other priorities at the agency.