How Should Agencies Respond to the President’s Management Agenda?

by | Apr 5, 2018

Last Updated November 15, 2022


The White House Office of Management and Budget’s recent release of the president’s management agenda calls for modernizing the government through technology, data, and workforce. The agenda identifies lead and supporting agencies for each of the 14 cross-agency performance goals. Even though it isn’t yet clear what the reform initiatives will be or whether various reforms will be adopted, agency leaders can begin transforming their operations immediately.

Here’s how agency leaders should begin:

Combine and Plan

  • Take the OMB guidance, requirements, and input along with recommendations from advisory councils, inspector generals, the Government Accountability Office, and agency strategic and performance plans and develop a clear implementation plan and timeline.
  • Identify short-term (fiscal year), mid-term (Trump administration), and long-term (beyond the administration) objectives.
  • Put someone in charge to start these plans.
  • The plan should have goals, strategies, and actions that will execute immediately with a phased and integrated approach.
  • Identify risks and resources and how the plan integrates with the president’s management agenda.


  • Re-engineer work process and policy, aligning technology and workforce and reducing organizational complexity.
  • Assess program efficiency and effectiveness and make changes.
  • Take advantage of stronger budgets and the Modernization Act fund to create efficiency with legacy systems or use the proposed workforce investment fund to develop needed skills.
  • Reshaping should be the primary function of every agency chief operating officer.

Make Difficult and Quick Decisions

  • Acquire resources, make quick decisions, manage intently, and make it happen so it has staying power.
  • Line up authorities and proactively help Congress prepare for legislative action, as necessary.

Support and Engage

  • Support work of lead agencies, get involved and contribute.


  • Share efficient and effective practices with other agencies so they can adopt similar practices.
  • Publish articles and speak at conferences.

Measure and Report

  • Agencies must measure and report efficiency and effectiveness gains at a detailed level to demonstrate success. This should go beyond the traditional high-level report.
  • Report on specific effectiveness measures, efficiency gains, cost savings, performance or quality gains, workload changes and workforce practices.

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