What's new at the Department of Justice?

Tuesday - 8/23/2011, 9:27pm EDT

FED_TECH_TALK_08-23-2011.mp3

Download mp3

August 23, 2011 -- Host John Gilroy is joined by Phelan Wyrick, senior advisor to the assistant attorney general for the Office of Justice Programs at the U.S. Justice Department.

Wyrick is the program manager for a recently released web site called crimesolutions.gov.

The production of this web site has many valuable lessons for other federal IT professionals.

If you work for an agency that has hundreds of programs, then you know that is very difficult for you to understand the relative efficacy of each one. It is almost impossible for people in varying geographic districts to evaluate programs.

In 2009, the Department of Justice was challenged with producing a web site that would give citizens guidelines for evaluating a group of programs.

The department wanted a data-driven and evidence based approach that would give citizens ratings of 150 programs.

On today's show, Wyrick gives guidelines for starting the effort, how to work with technology partners, and what to expect at launch.

He emphasizes the importance of being flexible during development as well as the value of testing.

The result was a simple three stage evaluation that gives a program "effective," "promising," or "no effects."

There are many lessons to be learned in the wording of those three categories. Listen to the options that Wyrick gives for feedback to the evaluations.