Select Agencies Are Working on Technology Business Management Playbook


Whether it will get a public release is less clear.

Several federal agencies are working together on a set of best practices for implementing the Technology Business Management framework, a set of rules and procedures for categorizing IT investments that prioritize mission outcomes, though it is unclear if and when that “playbook” will see a public release.

Walter McDonald, director of the Education Department’s IT Program Services office, said during a Digital Government Institute event Tuesday that his department was working with the General Services Administration and the Office of Management and Budget on a TBM Playbook to help other agencies make the move. Agencies received a mandate to use TBM for tracking IT projects in the President’s Management Agenda, which includes a cross-agency priority goal to fully implement the framework by 2022.

“GSA folks reached out to us—they’ve been on a TBM journey for about three years now,” McDonald said. “They talked about putting a digital playbook together of some lessons learned.”

In later discussions with Nextgov, McDonald said his office expects to see a draft of the playbook within the new few weeks, with a potential public release to follow sometime in the future.

A GSA spokesman told Nextgov the agency could not “confirm the release” of said playbook.

“However, OMB, the Department of Education and GSA have been leaders in implementing TBM and will continue to collaborate to enable the federal government to run IT like a business; drive innovation and business transformation; improve services to citizens; add cost transparency; and increase accountability to taxpayers,” the spokesman said. “Through a phased approach, agencies will learn from the challenges and successes of implementing TBM and have the opportunity to validate each step.”

But it seems clear that the TBM playbook is a real thing, as McDonald gave specific examples of advice his office offered to the effort.

“Our part in that was, what approach did we take to implement TBM, what are some of the hard lessons learned from that approach, what are the quick wins, who did we talk to, who are the partners that we had to involve to be successful? That’s what we lent to that playbook,” he said Tuesday.

During the same event, McDonald’s colleague, Steven Corey-Bey, Education’s chief of enterprise architecture and the Investment and Acquisition Management team, similarly lauded TBM’s effect on the department and offered a look into how it could change IT spending governmentwide.

“All of the agencies will be reporting the same data, at the same time, in the same way,” he said. “So, you won’t be able to say, ‘You can’t compare [the Defense Department] to Education because we don’t collect the data the same way.’”