Leveraging Leadership Transitions

“We are positioned well to keep the same trajectory and same path forward.” 

Executive sponsor, Cristie Fredrickson shares what’s new and what’s to expect regarding One Washington leadership changes.  

What are the key elements leadership is involved with in One Washington? 

When I think about this, it may be helpful to understand the previous roles of leadership. I, as executive sponsor focused on managing relationships that are up and out of the program, while Scott Nicholson [executive director of business transformation] and John Anderson [executive director of technology] managed work and relationships that are considered within the program, including work with our agency partners. I managed relationships with our governing bodies. Scott managed the day-to-day business within the program and the organization change management (OCM) contract with our vendor partners. John managed the technology side of the house and the system integrator contract.  

There have been some leadership changes over the summer. Scott Nicholson took an opportunity in the private sector while Tomy Mollas, our director of OCM, took an opportunity in another state to be with his family. These departures happened concurrently with budget constraint implications that effected contracted positions, including the position of John Anderson.  

We have taken the summer and this opportunity to evaluate not only our leadership structure here at One Washington, but also our organizational structure as a whole. Projects of this size and complexity have a naturally higher turn-over rate than traditional agency work, and so it is important to all of us here to recognize the need for structural organizational changes to ensure we are organized in an effective manner that supports the wide spectrum of activities and domains in our purview. Our goal with these changes is to establish a structure that is planful for the current and future team sizes based upon where we are in our cycles of planning and implementation as well as to have depth and maturity to facilitate enterprise-wide support.

The new One Washington organizational chart is complete and will be announced and published later this month after it has been incorporated within our staff.

What will be different with these transitions in leadership?

Let’s start with the executive director (ED) of business transformation role. First, I’d like to say what will be the same: the emphasis on the business. The One Washington program is a business project that has IT underpinnings. Whoever Scott’s replacement is will still have a heavy emphasis on business and will remain committed to business drivers. The position may look a little different and may have different title, but it won’t diminish the importance of the business. What will be different for the ED of business transformation? A large portion of the ED role was to manage the Deloitte OCM contract, and without renewal of the OCM contract the ED role’s position description will change prior to it being reposted. Many of these changes will be reflected in the new organizational structure coming out later this month. 

With Tomy leaving, the OCM director position is now vacant, and efforts are being led by the OCM deputy director, Danielle Blanchard. Tomy set us on a path toward unified state management of OCM. He helped create the strategic path for a unified approach to OCM in Washington state, and our team is going to continue to refine that strategic plan. We are positioned well to keep the same trajectory and same path forward. Deloitte was largely managing OCM efforts, now it will be the state leading. Our staff have been vocal about their appreciation for the work our contracted partners while sharing their excitement to lean into this opportunity and provide OCM the One Washington way.

As previously mentioned, due to budget realities, the position of John Anderson as the executive director for technology has shifted. This was a contracted position without a state equivalent position, and we were unable to keep that role. However, with the help of the budget team and negotiations with John, we’ve been fortunate enough to maintain John’s expertise and knowledge in a different capacity. He has deep expertise as an expert project manager, which is now his new title. He’ll continue to be engaged with technology, but he’ll also engage with the project management office, remediations team, and a variety of other things. Ann Bruner has been, and continues to be, our chief technology officer (CTO) and we will continue to leverage Ann as a decision maker.  

We recognize the need to ensure we are organized in an effective manner that supports the wide spectrum of activities in our purview. We will leave the ED role open intentionally for some time while we implement our new organizational structure. We’ll be evaluating positions and roles, current and future needs, and gaps or duplication that may be present.

Is turnover on a project like this expected or normal?

Our turnover is higher than a normal state agency, however we see rates that can be expected in a project of this size and complexity. The pandemic really skews the numbers as well so it’s hard to compare against other years and other projects. People may join because they’re excited to try something new, but they may find it’s not a good fit personally or there are other additional complicating factors due to budget constraints. Because a project is inherently shorter term or not as long term, that can also create discomfort. This project is fast paced and the work changes. There are a lot of moving parts, and it doesn’t feel like traditional agency work. It may not work for some people’s personalities; however, others really enjoy that and thrive.

What else do you want readers to know?

We’ve had a lot of change in a short amount of time. I am, and continue to be, thankful of our staff and partners as we work through these changes together. I have deep appreciation to our teams for the progress we are making.

I’d like to give accolades to our finance team for getting to “done” with the functional baseline design of Workday. They’ve now handed the baseline design off to other areas of the program to inform their work. Finance team completed well over 100% of their goal for user stories and test scenarios. 

An exciting milestone for our team is the ability to validate design with our agency partners. That work kicked off this month and plans for several rounds of information sessions and validation work are planned to take us into the new year. The next issue of the Newsletter will focus heavily on the details of this work. 

Additionally, I'd like to recognize our legacy systems remediation team for completing pass #1 of validating the 246 systems count for each group of agencies. Inventorying agency legacy systems that need to be retired, maintained or modernized is a heavy lift and as we continue to learn more through subsequent passes, we will provide updates on further progress. 

Cristie Fredrickson profile photo