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On the latest episode of StateScoop’s Priorities podcast, Maine CIO Jim Smith says his efforts to build a solid management team helped propel his vision for technology in the state.
Jake Williams is currently the Associate Publisher & Director of Strategic Initiatives for StateScoop, based in Washington, D.C., where h...
When Jim Smith started as Maine’s chief information officer in 2012, he had never held a management position in the public sector before.
The public sector is unlike anywhere in the private sector, Smith says, due to its high level of turnover. Whether it’s through elected officials who serve a defined term, or through the departure of high ranking officials who often serve for even shorter periods of time, government can be a tumultuous environment not well-suited to the stability demanded by diligent IT planning.
But while Smtih entered this environment with a dearth of a certain kind of experience, he also came armed with a wealth of knowledge from his work in the private sector that he says he knew would serve him well as he surrounded himself with reliable staff to support his visioning efforts.
“The first thing I did was build a management team, I really needed people who could execute,” Smith says on the latest episode of Priorities.
With his management team now stabilized, Smith says he turned his focus to project management, which lead the state to embrace agile development. Agile, he says, helped his team move forward on modernization and data center consolidation.
“This is a change to an organization that had been doing waterfall for a long time,” Smith says. “[We had to go] from 1990 to modern day.”
But ultimately, it comes down to aligning those efforts with the priorities of the very political office that can make long-term IT planning such a challenge to begin with.
“Here in Maine, our governor is a supporter of using technology to improve citizen communication and citizen services,” Smith says. “That translates really into his emphasis on ROI and great project management and the right use of citizen dollars.”
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Priorities is StateScoop’s regular podcast that examines the leading strategies, technologies and challenges that state CIOs expect to face this year.
In addition to listening to Priorities on StateScoop.com, you can now subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and have episodes delivered directly to your podcasts app on your smartphone when they are released.