Monday, February 09, 2009

Great News, Web Managers…You Have a Place at the Table!

I’ve wanted to write a blog piece about Bev Godwin for a long time. But now, I have a terrific excuse. Bev just announced that she’s gone over to the White House, on a detail, as the Director of Online Resources and Interagency Development on the New Media Team. This is unbelievably good news, not only for my dear and deserving friend, Bev, but also for the government web manager community. Why? Because – finally – you have one of your own sitting at the policy table.

I met Bev about 13 years ago when she was chairing an interagency group tasked to create a website that would help state and local governments work with the federal government. Bev was on the Vice President’s Reinventing Government task force at that time, and this was one of the first efforts to develop an interagency website. As you can imagine – there were a lot of opinions and a good deal of stumbling. But finally, we got the job done, thanks to Bev’s leadership abilities and political finesse. When Bev got the assignment to create FirstGov.gov (thankfully renamed “USA.gov”) as THE federal government’s online “front door,” I knew she’d do a terrific job and that agency web managers could count on her to include them in the process. That’s just the way Bev works.

In late 2003, Bev called to ask me to work with her on a new assignment: recommending policies to OMB for implementing the E-Gov Act of 2002, Section 207. Well, you know how that turned out (and if you don’t, just take a look at the report). Once again, Bev used her leadership skills, her political acumen and her plain ol’ smarts to guide an effort that resulted in creation of interagency web governance (the federal Web Managers Council), the first training institution for government web managers (Web Manager University), and the first website targeting government web managers (Webcontent.gov). Powerful achievements.

And now our Bev is at the White House, working with Macon Phillips and others to lead change in the way government serves citizens via the web.

It’s fun to watch the organizational and personnel decisions the Obama administration is making and to imagine how they’ll impact government web management. In addition to the New Media Team at the White House, we anticipate the new E-Gov Director at OMB (TechPresident and others are speculating that DC CTO Vivek Kundra will be named to that job. Vivek has been a superstar in using technology to inform citizens in DC, so this surely would be good news). And though I’m still not exactly sure what the Chief Performance Officer will tackle, an office that’s looking at improving efficiency and effectiveness in government surely will want to extend those efficiencies through web applications and content (maybe an advocate for “top tasks?”). So that’s three high-level operations that could – and probably will - play a part in setting the agenda for government web management in the next few years. It will take good coordination to head off the “too many bosses” syndrome.

But now you’ve got one of your own at the policy table, web managers. Bev knows the web manager community and its challenges; and she will be in a position to raise those issues when it counts – as decisions are being made. And if I know Bev, she’ll make sure that your ideas and concerns are considered in the discussion phase, rather than after the fact. You couldn’t have a better, more savvy and more capable advocate. This is great news.

Congrats, Bev! We’re all cheering for you!


Related link
Defining Key Roles, Reducing Confusion

5 comments:

sbourne said...

This is really great news. Bev has been able to do a lot, but I suspect that's been a lot that she hasn't been able to do. I can't wait to see!

Joe Flood said...

That's really good news. Bev really brought the government web community together. When I was a web site manager I used webcontent.gov all the time. It's a great resource.

Gwynne said...

Thanks for the post, Candi. You are right, Bev is a great public servant and a great asset to help us all--from White House to pink houses and all houses in between!

Craig said...

Hey, that's great news, much deserved, and Bev... live long and prosper!

Craig

Jeffrey Levy said...

I couldn't agree more, Candi. Bev is the absolute best person we gov't webbies could've hoped would land in the White House.

Jeffrey Levy
Director of Web Communications
US EPA
(and proud charter member of the Federal Web Managers Council)

P.S. I can't believe that our first effort was FIVE years ago!

P.P.S You need to take some credit, too. Your baby (the Web Content Managers Forum) has crossed 1500 members. I credit you regularly, by name, that our Social Media Subcouncil has members from state and local governments.