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Success Stories

From: Owen Ambur <Owen.Ambur@verizon.net>
Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 14:54:03 -0400
To: <public-egov-ig@w3.org>
Message-id: <002b01c92ef7$65d5ccc0$31816640$@Ambur@verizon.net>
On the eGov IG telecon this morning is was suggested that members share
success stories.  I have my own personal views about the value of such
stories, because I believe: 


a) we often learn more from failure than from success,


b) stories have inherent weaknesses that guarantee a less than a full and
accurate accounting, and


c) we've grown much too used to being allowed to report (document) only our
successes and ignore our failures - meaning that we remain more (blissfully)
ignorant than necessary, both as individuals and as societies.


However, that is not to suggest success stories have *no* value nor is
conveying my personal views the primary purpose of this message -- which is
to note that <SuccessStory> is one of the elements AIIM's StratML Committee
has considered including in the StratML vocabulary and schema.  Our decision
was to exclude that element from the initial release of the standard because
we don't believe it is part of the core (essence) of strategic plans.
However, we are certainly open to including it in a subsequent release -- so
long as the <Story> element can be attributed as either success or failure
or both.  (The standard should not further reinforce the bias toward
reporting only positive results while ignoring potentially more meaningful
negative outcomes.)   In the meantime, stories can be documented in the
<OtherInformation> element of StratML:


The U.S. federal CIO Council's strategic plan does include four short
"success stories," which are captured in the <OtherInformation> elements of
the StratML rendition at http://xml.gov/stratml/CIOCstratplan.xml   


I wrote the initial draft of the story about the ET.gov site/process, which
could be a candidate for inclusion in the eGov IG's proposed inventory of
success stories.  However, I believe there is more to be learned from its
failures than its success.  If the IG would like to make the ET.gov process
a topic of focus, I would be more than happy to contribute to a "story" that
is well-balanced in terms of success/failure.  Some of the as-yet-unmet
needs for the ET.gov site are documented at
http://et.gov/history/enhancementrequirements.htm &
http://xml.gov/draft/ETLifeCycleStage2.htm & http://xml.gov/et/CollabML.xml
The relatively complete history of the ET.gov site/process is documented at


Also, the CIOC's strategic plan itself is a case study in what the folks at
Princeton's Center for Information Technology Policy were talking about when
they said the next U.S. administration should "reduce the federal role in
presenting important government information to citizens."
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1138083  Because the
emphasis was on making the plan "look good," the graphics it included were
so large that it could not be shared via E-mail during the
drafting/editing/review process.  Meanwhile, no provisions were made for
documenting progress or lack thereof against the objectives it established.


Unfortunately, throughout human history, looking good has been more
important than performing well - much less reporting fully and accurately to
stakeholders on clearly documented objectives for which they have been
allowed to have input.  However, it would be nice to think the eGov IG might
be able to play some small role in changing that dynamic going forward into
the future.  I'm quite hopeful that AIIM's StratML Committee will make such
a contribution.


Owen Ambur

Co-Chair Emeritus, xmlCoP <http://xml.gov/index.asp>   

Co-Chair, AIIM StratML <http://xml.gov/stratml/index.htm>  Committee

Member, AIIM iECM Committee

Invited Expert, W3C eGov <http://www.w3.org/2007/eGov/IG/>  IG

Membership Director, FIRM Board

Former Project Manager, ET.gov <http://et.gov/>  

Brief Bio <http://mysite.verizon.net/ambur/bio.htm>  

Received on Wednesday, 15 October 2008 18:55:03 UTC

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