Author Archive

Ira Hobbs

Of the People: Signing off-- Never forget the basics

For my last GCN column, I'd like to revisit the issues and strategies I've written about over the past couple of years. My goal is to leave you with a clearer understanding of what I believe we need to do to improve the federal IT work force.

Of the people: Technical certification'its time has come

Over the past decade, vendor-specific technical certification has become an accepted industry way of demonstrating proficiency in managing specific types of products. Today, role-based certification programs offer government managers an additional tool, but it's one we seldom use. Role-based certification says a person is expert at a critical business function.

Of the People: Richard Simmons has a lot to teach IT managers

HERSHEY, Pa.'A couple of experiences at this month's Interagency Resources Management Conference made me shake my head in amazement. But each in its own way got me pumped about my work as a federal manager.

Of the People: Sept. 11 anniversary casts budget process in a new light

Breathe deeply ... release ... relax. Feel better? I do. We've not quite made it to the end of the fiscal year, but the pace seems to be accelerating with year-end closings, the budget season, and the reminders and ceremonies to mark Sept. 11.

Of the people: CyberCorps is training our future security leaders

When'not if'cyberwarfare arrives, will we be able to defend ourselves? That is the basic question that we federal managers are asking.

Management's most potent tool is training

To maintain and improve government services, agencies must redouble efforts to educate current and future employees, up to and including executives and managers.

Of the People: To keep and nurture talent, be a mentor

Across government, managers face a compelling need to attract new people with new skills to public service.

Of the people: Things are changing'and we've got to talk

It's been a rough time for me since I wrote my last column for GCN. I'm sure you'll understand. There are simply too many things in a day for government managers to do, and I've struggled to find time to sit down and write. So despite the many helpful reminders from my editors, I was late getting this article written and submitted.

Of the people: Good business cases are worth the effort

Without solid business cases for IT investment, the rush to e-government will not pan out as program managers envision. If they and CIOs can't document benefits, costs, project plans and effective project leadership, it will be impossible to unify and simplify government services.

Of the People: Keep your guard up'plan for emergencies

Shortly after terrorists attacked the United States on Sept. 11, I observed what I thought was a new and enduring spirit of cooperation and teamwork coupled with a serious-minded focus in the federal work force.

Of the People: Virtual job fairs are the wave of the future

As I wrote this, we in the federal government were about to establish a new mark in the history of personnel recruitment.

Of the People: Agencies must cooperate for e-gov to succeed

Slowly but surely, momentum continues to build for e-government, the steady transformation of government, to use an already-overused expression, from bricks and mortar to clicks and mortar.

Of the People: It's never too late or too early to recruit IT workers

Anyone who knows anything about the federal IT work force has heard talk about what many consider a crisis. If you haven't, take my word for it, there is a crisis. The federal government's IT work force is aging, so much so that an alarming number of employees are eligible for retirement or soon will be.


When the conversation turns to cybersecurity, some people almost automatically seem to focus on the complex technology that is required to fend off the hackers, cybercriminals, cyberterrorists and others who would attack governments and companies through their computer networks.


Another year has passed, and, to be honest, after the horrible events of Sept. 11, I'm rather glad to see a new year start. The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon followed by the anthrax mailings truly produced dark clouds over our country, indeed over the world.


Since I started this column in January, our lives as citizens and federal managers have been transformed dramatically and not for the better. The unimaginable'an attack killing thousands followed by war'is now reality. The future is not assured. The economy has soured. Things people once thought of as important are much less so today. Old scripts have been torn up and rewritten, old agendas discarded.


The federal CIO Council has long contended that the General Schedule system for classifying and setting salaries of federal IT workers is broken. But for many months, the council has been singing solo in a cavernous arena with few listeners.


Call it a Day of Infamy. Call it a Day from Hell. Whatever you call it, that Tuesday will be a day each of us will remember for the rest of our lives. It will be a day that changed our lives in ways that remain to be determined, the day when our nation was violently attacked in the most despicable way imaginable.


Keeping tabs on someone is easier than ever. Parents worried about the viewing habits of their children, law enforcement officials trying to nab suspected criminals and employers concerned about the online whereabouts of their employees have myriad tools available to track where others go and what they do.


Many of us spend more than a third of our adult lives at work. If you subtract the time when we're asleep and just look at waking hours, you can see the magnitude of jobs and careers on the rhythm of our lives. Some people actually spend more time with their co-workers than they do with their families.