How to Accelerate Government Projects

Barbara Eilenfield, MHA, PMP

Abstract
Many government agencies are being asked to do more with less as their priorities shift. The problem is that most government agencies have bureaucratic hiring, contracting, budgeting, and administrative functions that cannot respond to transformative change. This article discusses the concept of employing a crucible, consisting of four elements (do more with less; lean project management; phasing; and consistency), as the antidote to bureaucracy.

In the example in this article, a team used the four elements of the crucible paired with Kotter’s eight-step change model to centralize a functional area in which centralization previously had been tried and failed. Anyone who has led a consolidation effort or been asked to stand up a shared service can relate. When transformation is too slow for management but too fast for frontline employees, it is the perfect time to try this acceleration tool.

Introduction
Those in government project management may have gotten a chuckle from the title of this article and the juxtaposition of the words “accelerate” and “government.” In government project management, change can be slow and often takes advantage of “good bureaucracy”–the kind in which its practitioners pride themselves in stalling bad ideas in layers of decision making.

The truth is that government project management…


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If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.

- Jack Handey

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