Agile tenets can help federal agencies become more effective, efficient & equitable
The National Academy of Public Administration and the Project Management Institute (PMI) today released a new report, “Agile Regulation: Gateway to the Future” that outlines nine tenets that federal agencies can implement to operate in a more agile way to better meet the public’s rapidly evolving needs.
“To address the significant challenges facing our nation, such as the pandemic, the economy, complex technologies, and many others, the public sector must operate differently,” said Academy President/CEO Terry Gerton. “A new agile paradigm—making public satisfaction the top priority, empowering staff members and teams, and utilizing both networks and new ways of working to facilitate innovation and solve complex problems—has great potential to help government address these issues in a more effective, efficient, and equitable way.”
The regulatory framework builds on a December 2020 report issued by the Academy and PMI, Building an Agile Federal Government: A Call to Action, which examined how agile government differs from current management practices, what hinders agile adoption, and how departments and agencies can unlock the potential of agile. The report included five recommendations and implementation steps to increase agility in the federal government. A Call to Action was later credited as the foundation for a new federal workforce priority, “Fostering an Agile Organization and the Growth Mindset,” and agencies were urged to incorporate the report’s recommendations in their activities.
In the fall of 2021, the Academy, PMI, and the Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust embarked on an effort to address federal regulation within the sphere of public administration and policy, in the belief that it is possible for agencies to adopt some agile practices within the existing legal structure. This led to the development of an agile regulatory framework with the following nine tenets and numerous practices that agencies can implement to improve stakeholder engagement, internal working practices, and regulatory outcomes:
- Understand changing external conditions and evolving societal, economic, and environmental needs.
- Think comprehensively about how to best meet the agency’s regulatory goals.
- Incorporate innovative methods that address economic, environmental, and societal needs.
- Collaborate early and often during regulatory development.
- Construct small yet inclusive teams to manage the regulatory development process.
- Make the agency’s work and workflows visible as regulations are developed.
- Automate processes and use modern technological tools.
- Conduct parallel processing of activities.
- Foster continuous learning about regulatory impacts and internal processes.
“Becoming more agile is a journey, and it’s key to unlocking potential and realizing outcomes,” said Michael DePrisco, Interim President & CEO at PMI. “We hope that leaders and managers across federal regulatory agencies will not only find this framework useful, but also provide their feedback on how it can be strengthened in the coming years.”
To read the full report, including specific findings and recommendations, click here.
About the National Academy of Public Administration
Chartered by Congress to provide non-partisan expert advice, the Academy is an independent, non-profit, and non-partisan organization established in 1967 to assist government leaders in building more effective, efficient, accountable, and transparent organizations. Learn more at www.napawash.org