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Government Can Deliver: A Practitioner's Guide to Improving Agency Effectiveness and Efficiency by Richard A. Spires

Government Can Deliver: A Practitioner's Guide to Improving Agency Effectiveness and Efficiency

by Richard A. Spires

368 pages
Government Can Deliver addresses how government agencies, at the federal, state, and local levels, can use modern management practices and better leverage technology to drive significantly improved operational performance.

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Category: Government
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About the Book
Government Can Deliver presents a framework for government agency performance improvement designed to change an inefficient culture and drive operational excellence. It outlines how government leaders can drive such change, and most importantly, it presents a proven approach for creating an environment that will affect positive change. This framework, a set of practical attributes and implementable best practices tailored for government agencies, is based on real-world experiences in which government did deliver. There are examples in each chapter of agencies that implemented elements of this framework and the resulting impact on agencies’ operational performance. And while mainly using examples from large federal government agencies, this book can aid those in all levels of government and differing agency sizes.

In writing this book, Richard endeavored to create a practical guide on transforming government agencies that can benefit all readers—whether you have made government service your life, study government as an academician or student, or are simply a concerned citizen. After establishing the need for improved government operations , the book presents attributes and best practices for eight solution functions. When properly addressed, each of these functions can, individually and collectively, significantly improve an agency’s performance. The examples and arguments can help agency leaders justify implementing the necessary attributes and best practices to improve their agency’s performance. The final chapter provides recommendations on how a government agency can develop a transformation plan to incrementally implement the attributes and best practices for each of these eight functions.

Richard has seen first-hand the amazing things government agencies can accomplish when they have experienced, capable leaders, adopt best practices tailored for government, and appropriately leverage technology to support improved operations. Change is hard, but through government leaders’ and employees’ efforts focused on implementing the right changes, agencies can significantly improve their operational performance. Under the right conditions, magic can and does happen.


Richard’s book is a must-read for anyone in government service or anyone interested in good governance practices. I’ve learned a great deal about leadership and integrity over the years watching Richard deliver for the American public at DHS, the IRS, and in other leadership roles. His insights on delivering mission-critical operations to various departments are invaluable.
- David Powner, Former Lead IT Audit Reviewer at GAO
I highly recommend Richard’s book for anyone leading change in a large organization. While the setting is mainly two large federal government organizations, Richard’s insights and recommendations are as relevant in the private sector as in federal, state, and local governments. Richard has zeroed in on the key elements for success, and these recommendations aren’t academic. They are based on his real-world leadership experiences, the lessons he’s learned and applied, and the success he’s achieved. This is a valuable roadmap for current and future leaders everywhere, especially in government, where building the public’s trust is so critical. Kudos and thanks to Richard for his service and for adding such a valuable guide to our toolkit.
- Jim Cook, Former VP and Director for the Center for Enterprise Modernization, The MITRE Corporation
Having served federal and state government agencies for more than 30 years, I have learned the importance of agencies adopting practical, proven management practices to address their most pressing challenges. Richard’s book describes a comprehensive approach for agencies to improve their performance. I’m particularly taken with his focus on the importance of agencies effectively managing their IT projects and programs through modern Agile-based methods. I recommend this book to anyone serving in a government agency or any contractor supporting an agency.
- Hamid Aougab, Scrum/Agile & Project Management Instructor and Consultant


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About the Author
Richard A. Spires Richard Spires has spent more than two decades supporting government. He served as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the IRS and then the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). He has been recognized numerous times with awards for his leadership in government and, in particular, in government information technology.



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