NewsBrief April 12, ,2019

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: April 12, 2019

How companies can help midlevel managers navigate agile transformations

(McKinsey & Company) Transforming companies to increase their agility so that they can quickly reorient themselves toward valuable opportunities helps them achieve superior performance.1 An agile transformation involves restructuring a company’s workforce as a relatively flat network of cross-functional, flexible teams empowered to direct their own activities and make day-to-day decisions. As a result, most of the conventional manager’s responsibilities—such as planning projects, assigning tasks, documenting progress, and evaluating employees—get absorbed by other roles. When a company’s agile transformation is complete, it will have more opportunities for individual contributors and leaders, but few if any positions for managers.Read More

Improved cloud oversight needed and underway at SBA, inspector general finds

(fedscoop) The U.S. Small Business Administration’s move to the cloud needs some tweaks to fully comply with federal government standards, a report by the agency’s inspector general found. The report, which looks at SBA’s cloud migration efforts and oversight from fiscal 2017-2018, concludes that the agency “needs to improve its cloud migration and oversight controls in risk management, security, data mobility, and IT investments to meet federal guidance and standards.Read More

IRS wants $2.7 billion over six years to modernize IT

(FCW) The IRS commissioner told a Senate panel April 10 that it needs $290 million this year and between $2.3 and $2.7 billion in additional funding over the next six years to implement an IT modernization plan that would tackle longstanding complaints about the agency’s outdated legacy systems. Read More

Trump picks next chief of naval operations

(NavyTimes) The man President Donald J. Trump has nominated to replace Adm. John Richardson as the Navy’s 32nd chief of naval operations is a Cold War aviator who helped reinvent the sea service as its top personnel officer. If confirmed by the Senate, Adm. William Francis “Bill” Moran will fleet up from his position as the vice chief of naval operations to take the helm of a Navy in flux, pursuing a fleet of 355 warships during an era of increasing competition from Russia, China and other rising powers.Read More

House sets $1.3T spending cap, budget talks begin

(DefenseNews) WASHINGTON — The House on Tuesday lifted an overall spending cap to $1.3 trillion to allow its appropriators to craft 2020 spending bills. The measure, which codified a $733 billion top-line for national defense in fiscal 2020, passed 219-201. Seven Democrats voted “no.” Technically, the House adopted a “deeming resolution” as part of a rule for floor debate on a related bill to lift budget caps for defense and non-defense in 2020 and 2021.Read More

Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Curb Algorithmic Bias

(Nextgov) Lawmakers want to make sure the algorithms companies use to target ads, recruit employees and make other decisions aren’t inherently biased against certain people. Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., on Wednesday introduced legislation that would require organizations to assess the objectivity of their algorithms and correct any issues might unfairly skew their results. As society depends on tech to make increasingly consequential decisions, the Algorithmic Accountability Act aims to create a level playing field for people of all backgrounds.Read More

How government can get more agencies to share tech

(Federal Times)The Office of Management and Budget and the General Services Administration have made it a priority to develop shared-service programs that address universal government needs such as HR and travel planning. But getting agencies to sign on with those services is another matter. According to a Government Accountability Office report publicly released April 9, OMB and GSA need to do more to encourage agencies to get on board with offerings.Read More

Why is OPM so slow to address ‘high-risk’ issues?

(Federal Times) The Government Accountability Office has issued many recommendations for how the Office of Personnel Management can improve its management of the federal workforce, but the agency has been slow to put in place changes that would address those problems. Read More

Train Your People to Think in Code

(MIT Sloan) Today, most companies equate doing analysis with writing formulas in spreadsheets. But the business landscape has shifted seismically since the invention of the spreadsheet. Today, organizations must think in terms of millions of individual customers, not just a handful of segments, and solve problems with reusable solutions to avoid reengineering the process from the ground up. And they want to benefit from the latest advances in machine learning and AI, not simply throw regressions at whatever analytical problem they face. In short, companies need to retrain for writing code, not formulas, as the future of work will entail thinking not just analytically but also algorithmically. Read More

Through machine learning, new model holds water

(TerraDaily) While water is perceived to be one of the simplest substances in the world, modeling its behavior on the atomic or molecular level has frustrated scientists for decades. To date, no single model has been able to accurately represent the plethora of water’s singular characteristics, including the fact that it is densest at a temperature slightly higher than its melting point.Read More

Why Is the First-Ever Black Hole Picture an Orange Ring?

(LiveScience) Orange you glad you’ve just seen the first-ever image of a black hole? Today (April 10), a global collaboration of more than 200 astronomers presented the first image of a directly-observed black hole. The picture of a glowing orange-yellow ring around a dark core, was compiled from observations by eight ground-based radio telescopes known collectively as the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT).Read More