GSA adds a new strategy to training

WILLIAMSBURG, Va.—The General Services Administration and the Chief Information
Officers Council are creating a new training program for federal information technology
professionals and managers.

The Strategic and Tactical Advocates for Results program will focus on strategic
thinking, said Emory Miller, director of IT professional development in GSA’s Office
of Governmentwide Policy, during a presentation last month at the Trail Boss Roundup

GSA is still developing STAR and in September will officially introduce the program at
its annual IRM Conference. The early plan for STAR, however, is that it will be a
follow-on to the agency’s Trail Boss Program, Miller said.

When GSA created the Trail Boss program in 1987, the government was having trouble
deploying major systems. Through the program, GSA has trained thousands of government IT
officials, emphasizing the procurement of complex systems. Trail Boss will continue to
focus on acquisition, output and teamwork, Miller said.

The STAR curriculum will be designed around the IT Management Reform Act, which
mandated for the first time that agencies treat IT as a resource. The program will focus
on the broader issues of capital planning, architecture, return on investment and
outcomes, Miller said. It will also focus on some other issues, such as outsourcing,
alternative funding and mobile work forces.

Although GSA has expanded the Trail Boss Program to meet a broader range of education
and training needs, STAR will specifically address strategic planning and financial and
performance measurement skills, Miller said.

Under the STAR plan, an agency would recommend its best systems managers to attend a
five- to 10-day course. Then, after the initial training, group members would get together
again for two-day periods to focus on specific subjects.

“The goal is that agency executives will invest in these people, and they will
have an expectation that the person is a tangible return on investment when they get back
in the office,” Miller said. 


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