Insight by LMI

3 essential elements necessary for delivering exceptional support to the federal government in 2022

This content is sponsored by LMI.

The past few years have been exceptionally challenging for all Americans, including those working in and supporting the federal government. Our nation’s public servants have continued to support and achieve their agencies’ missions amid a global pandemic, nationwide civil unrest, economic and supply change disturbances, and a change in presidential administration — to name just a few of the challenges.

Agencies had to rethink and revamp how they work...

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This content is sponsored by LMI.

The past few years have been exceptionally challenging for all Americans, including those working in and supporting the federal government. Our nation’s public servants have continued to support and achieve their agencies’ missions amid a global pandemic, nationwide civil unrest, economic and supply change disturbances, and a change in presidential administration — to name just a few of the challenges.

Agencies had to rethink and revamp how they work with citizens, with others in government, and with contractors. As a government consultant, we had to adjust to this changing landscape too. Reflecting on LMI’s experiences working with the Department of Homeland Security — including support to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Federal Protective Service, DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate and the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office — we discovered a few best practices when it comes to providing support to the government:

No. 1: Invest in the right people for the right mission

The linchpin of any successful government consultancy is the program or project manager. The PM is the conduit between the employees providing direct client support and the company they work for. We invest heavily in our PMs through our Project Management Center of Excellence, where we provide training and guidance on how to better lead teams that meet and exceed client requirements.

We also proactively find and place the right employees with the right projects. Investing in your employees’ career development beyond just a single contract helps retain high-quality talent longer than competitors. At LMI, we found that it also ensures that the government gets the right expertise at the right time to solve the challenges it has hired us to help a particular organization meet.

Sometimes, this means moving talent between projects to ensure the right team fit, investing in additional training for employees and building tools that help our talent management professionals constantly adapt to changing customer and employee needs. These efforts are one of the reasons why LMI’s own employees named the company the top workplace in the Washington, D.C., area for 2021, according to The Washington Post.

No. 2: Enhance corporate reach-back and crosstalk to help clients solve problems

At LMI, we foster an active, vibrant matrix organizational style in order to elevate subject matter expertise.

We currently support 15 areas of domain expertise with subject matter experts working every day across federal organizations, including in artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, digital transformation, human capital solutions, logistics and supply chain management, and many more.

It also helps to invest in research initiatives aligned to the government’s unique needs. For us, it is our independent LMI Research Institute and a software solutions factory called The Forge, in which our SMEs and data scientists work every day to discover innovations and develop new technology tools to help the government run more efficiently and effectively.

No. 3: Take an iterative, agile approach to mission success

The only constant over the last several years was change. We found that success required a deep understanding of each government customer’s mission, as well as an iterative approach to solving challenges.

It is not good enough to identify an initial team of PMs and SMEs and assume that they will successfully support a customer for years without continually asking and answering a few questions:

  • Is this (still) the right team?
  • Are we solving the right problems for the customer?
  • How do we know that we are achieving and exceeding our customer’s expectations?

In agile software development, the team clearly identifies the end user requirements, the business case for the software and any other deliverables that will lead to overall mission success. LMI takes the same kind of iterative, change-driven approach to all our services, including support to DHS. As the department’s missions evolve and environments change, we change with them.

In 2021, LMI was honored to receive across-the-board “Exceptional” Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System ratings by all our prime DHS customers. An exceptional CPARS rating is the highest rating possible, demonstrating performance that “meets contractual requirements and exceeds many to the government’s benefit.”

To justify each exceptional rating, the government must “identify multiple significant events and state how these events were of benefit to the government. A singular benefit, however, could be of such magnitude that it alone constitutes an exceptional rating. Also, there should have been no significant weaknesses identified.”

Some might look at this list and wonder why we are giving away our keys to success to potential competitors. We believe it is LMI’s corporate responsibility to “raise the tide” of consulting and, in the process, “lift all boats” to help the federal government achieve success.