Federal agencies working on similar projects or in the same geographic area often find overlap in their missions and requirements. These separate agencies are asking the same questions, writing the same reports, and reviewing the same data sets. You would think they could just work together, but often, sensitivities in who can look at the data means information is not shared and duplicative work is completed.
Cross-agency collaboration provides an opportunity to reduce duplicative work and produce big results—but you must overcome obstacles to data access before you can share knowledge.
But how can you collaborate when each agency has its own permissions and staff within the agencies have different rules for access?
Get Everyone Working in the Same Space
The first step in cross-agency collaboration is finding a place you can all work together. We recommend you start by creating one landing zone for data and knowledge that can be shared across agencies.
Establishing a shared, secure platform that can be used by multiple groups, no matter where they are located, makes collaboration much easier. Then your agency can share trainings, working groups, and conference calls for a more seamless flow of information.
Choose What to Share and With Whom
Consider how your data can then be compartmentalized according to your goals and requirements. With sophisticated data permissioning, the owner of data can select whether they only want to share something as small as a single point on a map up to full collections of documents.
When you have the capability to control access in a shared environment, your collaboration and workflows begin to improve.
Trust Promotes Better Collaboration
As trust builds through this collaborative process, and a greater understanding of each agency’s “bigger picture” develops, information flow between agencies improves.
Work that’s already been done does not need to be repeated, knowledge is shared more freely, and mission success becomes almost inevitable.
Once you have the foundation for cross-agency collaboration set up, it’s time to figure out what, realistically, is possible.
Instead of starting with a solution (“We’re going to share our data!”), consider all the parties involved and be honest about what works for everyone. It’s probably a combination of multiple tools and communication methods.
At Tesla Government, we facilitate a process with our federal government clients that clears a path to this kind of productivity. You could do it yourself, but we find it makes sense to bring in a third party who is focused on cross-agency collaboration and can lead the conversation objectively. You’ll be able to offload the mental burden of making it happen, and focus on the information transfer and mission. Our Community Building and Knowledge Management teams often also work with our clients to set up secure, shared online workspaces where users can get to work immediately.
You can come to this space and find what you’re looking for, and feel confident knowing only the right people are seeing it.
Get Your Stakeholders Working in the Same Direction
Collaborating in any context is hard. Establishing a shared workspace, understanding the governance of who is allowed to see what, and moving into an established rhythm will help.
If you decide you need an external party to head up your cross-agency collaboration (or you just want to pick our brains), let’s talk! We love finding ways to bring people together, advancing critical missions through smarter collaboration.
Ready to Get to Work with Other Federal Agencies?
Collaboration CAN be hard. We make it easy. Tap into our community-building services for success.