As we assemble for the first Director Status Review (DSR) of 2013 a look at the agenda reveals that IPAO continues to operate in an environment of significant change. While we all know that change is a continuous part of our environment and that it presents challenges as well as great opportunities, it is important to recognize that a key to adapting to change and for taking full advantage of its potential opportunities is flexibility. As we will discuss at DSR, the fiscal situation of the federal government is driving changes that have a direct impact to the way we operate. One manifestation of these changes is the reduction in travel as the federal government is looking for cost savings. These travel reductions are taking affect across the agency and will have an extensive effect in the way we work. As we prioritize our travel to those activities requiring broad levels of interaction, we will need to be flexible in considering alternative ways of interaction within the SRB and with the program/project as we perform the diverse activities necessary to plan and perform our reviews (such as remote participation or a mixture of personnel attending some activities in person and remotely). We have made key investments in IT capabilities in the office (LifeSize, WebEx, Vidyo,..) and have developed proficiency in using these capabilities; let’s take full advantage of them to enable these changes. These flexibilities also extend to interactions amongst each other as we continue to implement our geographically distributed organization. This DSR is a great example of that. The IPAO LifeSize ViTS equipment is now deployed across several centers for us to use, and I strongly encourage you to use it, not only for large meetings such as the DSR or staff meetings, but also for smaller meetings or even for one-on-one meetings (please consider using it in your meetings with me).
Another area where flexibility is highly desirable is in the implementation of our processes. This flexibility comes by deliberately looking for the most appropriate application of our process to the program/project under review and by continuing to examine our process for streamlining. As OoE goes forward working the actions that resulted from the March face-to-face meeting, we will need to remain open to respond to any new support needs to better serve our customers. Another important area where flexibility is needed is in our management oversight. We have heard you clearly that we need to do a better job in adjusting the oversight to the level of competence of individual members of the staff and the complexity of the task at hand; so the IPAO management team is formulating an approach to more deliberately graduate our oversight while increasing the level of empowerment in the office.
As you can see from the above, as the organization continues to move forward in this changing environment; flexibility is the name of the game!
As always, I welcome your thoughts.
Thank you for your continued support and commitment to the Agency’s independent review function.
James N. Ortiz, PHD