The Collaboration Process
One of the main sources of contention with the FirstGov.gov project was the nature of the involvement of the software industry. In essence, with the Inktomi donation, the other vendors were initially locked out of competing for this major government procurement. According to members of the software industry the project was naïve and ill-conceived. They felt is was not a successful implementation because it was rushed and not well thought out. They also asserted that by not including the software industry as a whole in this venture, critical intelligence and expertise was lost, leading to a flawed product.
A watchdog organization also felt that the speed was a drawback to the project. It was done without forethought to thinking through the policy implications and needs, according to the OMB Watch. A caution was expressed that policy needs to be in place to insure that information remains in the public domain and does not intentionally or inadvertently become the property of a private sector vendor. They also disagreed with the procurement method, i.e., the acceptance of the donated search engine. This forced federal agencies to use one portal model, regardless of whether or not it was the right model.
The above two instances point to concerns groups' had over the administration and management of the project and the policy environment. In this respect, governance was seen as problematic.
With the current appointment of a Director of Electronic Government in the Executive Office of Management and Budget, FirstGov.gov will have a more structured and accountable governance in the future. While this Director doesn't run the FirstGov.gov program, he is integrally involved in its activities and future developments. The results of the Quicksilver Task Force also put FirstGov.gov in a more formal government-wide context. The attention and oversight of the Federal CIO Council also give it more rigor and made it open to Council involvement and planning.