Balancing Tech Innovation and Oversight in State Governments

by The Tech Executive Leadership Initiative Winter 2021 Cohort

As part of their 10-week technology policy training program, the leaders of the Tech Executive Leadership Initiative spent 6 weeks working on real-world government challenges. Three teams tackled the following prompt:

The State of California’s process for technology project approval and oversight is designed for large, fully-planned technology “projects.” While this thorough process provides assurance to the Legislature and Department of Finance, it creates a cumbersome and slow experience for all stakeholders, ultimately stalling the pace of much-needed innovation. How can the State of California improve its project approval and oversight process to better balance oversight and planning with speed and delivery?

Click below to view a sample of the outputs each team created.

NextGen PAL

Adapting approval and oversight processes to project scale
by Colin Jenkel, Michelle Lee, Genevieve Liang, Sam McVeety, and Tejash Unadkat

This project recommends the CDT update its Project Approval Lifecycle (PAL) process to incorporate (1) low-overhead “discovery” and “prototype” phases, (2) a smaller process for smaller projects, and (3) caps on the overall size of all projects. With these changes, the state would gain the ability to have shorter and more agile planning, discovery, and approval cycles.

View the One-Pager
View the Policy Brief
View the NextGen PAL Stage Chart
View the PAL Selection Criteria
View the Stage 1a Summary
View the Stage 1b Guide

California Technology Fellowship Program

Accelerating the delivery of critical technology projects with a cross-departmental fellowship
by Rohit Chandra, Erika Cheung, Laura Lanford, Craig Montuori, Carlos Torres, and Greg Warden

This project recommends that the State of California establish a Technology Fellowship Program to leverage talent across its departments to achieve key digital service delivery goals. The Technology Fellowship Program would run annually, bringing employees across state agencies into 12-month rotations at the California Department of Technology. Following training on modern digital service delivery techniques, fellows should lead critical tech innovation initiatives through the Project Approval Lifecycle (PAL) and execution.

View the One-Pager
View the Operational Plan
View the Sample Advertisement

PALPro Planner

Providing tools to keep California technology projects on track
by Rebecca Kantar, Matt McDonald, Greg Novick, Parimala Rao, and Isabel Yang

This project proposes that the CDT invest in a PALPro Planner tool to help technology project owners schedule deliverables around crucial budget and Project Approval Lifecycle (PAL) deadlines and manage workflow. The PALPro Planner would recommend schedules based on historical project timelines; notify team members, approvers, and stakeholders of pending tasks; and enable collaboration and feedback within the tool itself.

View the One-Pager
View the White Paper
View the Video Explainer