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How to Make a Good Government 2.0 Presentation


November 8, 2010

Doug Hadden, VP Products

Surely there should be some rules about making Government 2.0 presentations. We’ve had enough! Enough tormenting through dull and pointless presentations! Enough of presenting something as Gov 2.0 that isn’t! Enough of light anecdotes substituting for substance!

After all, presentations about new technology should motivate.

After reflecting on those superlative presentations I’ve seen, here are some guidelines to consider whenever making a Government 2.0 or Open Government presentation:

1. Framework

Describe exactly what parts of Government 2.0 you will talk about.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What concepts will be discussed – what’s in, what’s out of the discussion?
  • Is it about internal or external Gov 2.0?
  • Is it within the organization or multi agency?
  • Is it focused on a single mission or generalized?
  • Is it incremental to other non Gov 2.0 initiatives, a re-frame of those or net new?

Recommendation: Show what you will talk about in a graphic that clearly shows what you are not going to talk about.

2. Depth

Provide in-depth information that practitioners can use rather than provide a survey of anecdotes.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What useful aspect of Government 2.0 is most relevant to discuss?
  • What is unique about the projects or projects you want to discuss?
  • What did you learn that was critical or unusual such about aspects such as business case, getting usage, getting trust, engaging citizens, unexpected problems?

Recommendation: Case studies are the best vehicle for depth.

3. Technology

Describe the technology used.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Why was the technology chosen?
  • Did the technology decision matter?
  • Were there any technology problems such as licensing, integration, functionality, security?

Recommendation: Unless the case study is focused on technology, there should not be more than 1 slide worth of information and no more than 5 minutes.

4. Value

Describe the value achieved.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What benefits were expected?
  • What was the result?
  • What unexpected results occurred? (positive or negative)
  • What metric used for benefits?
  • What recommendations do you have for justifying Government 2.0 projects?
  • Did the project help justify other Government 2.0 initiatives?

Recommendation: Value has become a source of intense discussion in government technology circles. It is best to contrast the value achieved relative to other information technology  investments.

5. Cost

Describe the exact costs of the Government 2.0 project.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What were the true costs, including labour?
  • Was it lower or higher than expected?
  • What are the on-going costs?

Recommendation: A cost summary spreadsheet by category – software, hardware, consulting, internal staff, training etc. should be provided and contrasted with typical IT project costs.

7. Governance

Describe how the project was managed and lead.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Who lead the project?
  • Was there an executive sponsor?
  • What groups and executives supported the project?
  • Was it skunkworks within the IT department or planned?
  • Did it rise from within the organization because of a need?
  • How were decisions made?

Recommendation: An organizational chart for governance is useful.

8. Good practices

Describe the project practices that were used.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What methodology, if any, was used?
  • How was the Government 2.0 project managed differently, if at all, from other IT projects?
  • How should Government 2.0 projects be managed differently, if at all, from other IT projects?
  • What should have been done differently?
  • What worked well in managing the project?
  • How was change management handled?
  • What was the view on scope and risk of failure?
  • How was risk mitigated?

Recommendation: It is best to focus on those things that make Government 2.0 projects different. If there is really nothing different from typical IT practice, there doesn’t need to be a lot of information about project practices.

9. More

Provide more information because you can never satisfy the thirst for Government 2.0 information in a single session.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Where can more information on this project or projects be found?
  • What web-based resources do you recommend?

10. Avoid

Avoid the following typical problems:

  • Defining Government 2.0 – that just wastes time
  • Describe standard broadcast outreach as Government 2.0 – that’s e-Government 1.0
  • Describe transaction processing as Government 2.0 – that’s just advanced e-Government 1.0
  • Describe the history of computing since Alan Turing – that just wastes more time
  • Try to sell your project or organization– you will gain more by having credibility
  • Provide intense multiple slide overview of your organization – this makes it difficult for audience members to abstract the lessons learned based on the complexity of your organization
  • Use words like ‘cool’ – civil servants want something that works not something that is cool
  • Use private sector or consumer examples – that is often immaterial in the government context
  • Winging it – it’s better to have a presentation and outline because your ideas can get lost
  • Reading from the slides – we can read too
  • Speech but no presentation – everyone wants to see the screens

Let’s hope that I follow my own advice ….

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Doug Hadden

Doug Hadden

Executive Vice President, Innovation at FreeBalance
Doug is responsible for identifying new global markets, new technologies and trends, and new and enhanced internal processes. Doug leads a cross-functional international team that is responsible for developing product prototypes and innovative go-to-market strategies.

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