Practical Advice to Optimizing your FreeBalance Project

Lessons learned from FreeBalance Project Audits

This is part 2 of 3 posts:

  1. Why are GRP FMIS Implementations Different
  2. How are FreeBalance GRP Implementation Different
  3. Practical Advice to Optimizing your FreeBalance GRP Project

FreeBalance conducts internal Financial Management Information System (FMIS) implementation audits. These occur at major project milestones. Anonymous surveys are used. The process has improved over time with over 100 performance indicators. Some of these indicators are fully under company services controls. Most rely on FreeBalance teams working with government project teams. 

Context: many of the project audit performance indicators are predicated on the capabilities of Government Resource Planning (GRP) software designed exclusively for government, and the unique features of the FreeBalance Accountability Suite.

This internal audit process helps FreeBalance to improve project successes. It informs governments who lack the experience of implementing GRP.

Project audit performance indicators are arranged in seven categories. Ratings for each indicator are calculated and documented. The insight gathered identifies success potential overall and by category. (The FreeBalance Project Audit, 4.1.16, includes spreadsheet, survey, and documentation templates.)

Critical FreeBalance Accountability Suite Implementation Performance Indicators

Project Initiation Performance Indicators

  1. Common project understanding among government and implementation teams facilities decision-making, particularly when success factors and project outcomes are well-understood and agreed upon
  2. Dedicated government project teams are critical to communicating requirements, uncovering informal processes, and preparing for change
  3. Government project team product training helps eliminate unnecessary code customization by anchoring projects on how software meets objectives, and how unexpected functions can add value
  4. Agile project methods enables adjusting to public finance realities, while rigid waterfall processes introduces risk – including gaps between documented requirements and real needs that are exposed during the project 

Program Management Performance Indicators

  1. Governance structures must include the software manufacturer in the steering committee and the program management office to ensure commitment while leveraging lessons in similar circumstances
  2. Government project leadership for success must be driven by government professionals, rather than external consultants, and should include civil servants outside central agencies to provide insight on informal practices
  3. Scope should be managed through formal analysis, even in agile processes, to focus projects on public finance priorities
  4. Timely decisions from steering committees, program management offices, vendors, and government project teams are required to meet schedules and eliminate unnecessary lag times (a corollary to this is providing timely information rather than “at the last minute” because it takes time to evaluate and analyze)

Change and Capacity Management Performance Indicators

  1. Stakeholder engagement across the government (leadership, domain experts, users), donor funders, and civil society organizations reduces change resistance while uncovering deeper understanding of needs 
  2. Integral change processes in all project activities including the use of workshops, interviews, agile management, feedback mechanisms, and communications that demonstrates quick wins, and other accomplishments to generate project buy-in
  3. Localization of language, terminology, and documentation localization facilitates transition users to new systems, including support for the unique language variation used, unique national languages, unique government terminology, with help and documentation showing government processes and screens to leverage existing capabilities
  4. Expert mentoring by FreeBalance and any vendors who have GRP and PFM expertise in similar contexts, augmented by training that extends beyond products to PFM, project management, changes management, and ICT to build capacity (government 

Needs Analysis Performance Indicators

  1. Workshops using agile methods engages stakeholders to improve the quality of requirements, while iterative configurations demonstrate compliance with those needs, eliminating the need for extensive documentation except for code customization 
  2. Eliminate unnecessary functions from “as-is” processes that reflect deficiencies or unnecessary constrained in previous software including eliminating manual processes and controls through automation
  3. Prioritization should represent more than central concerns, because line ministry and regional needs should be accommodated
  4. Good practices approach reflecting the capacity and public finance history in governments should be used, rather than trying to impose inappropriate and complex “best practices” such as accrual accounting, result-based budgeting, or performance appraisal, except in governments with capacity

Public Financial Management Approach Performance Indicators

  1. Government context should be used to determine which functions have the most positive impact on public finances for prioritization
  2. Progressive activation phases should be used to transition from good to better practices over time as capacity is built (leveraging GRP configuration capabilities)
  3. Commitment controls should be implemented because that is what makes PFM different from private sector accounting, and ensures legal spending supporting budget laws (this can be progressively activated, beginning with simple controls at the purchase order level before adding more controls, and adding controls at the purchase requisition level)
  4. Aggregate budget control is considered a good practice, while line-item controls is considered a poor practice, because of the need to make budget transfers that are not material to the budget or the budget law (line-item warnings could be implemented in lower-capacity governments)

ICT Approach Performance Indicators

  1. Effective IT practices are required for managing data centres hosting GRP applications including defined systems management procedures including monitoring, maintenance, and patch management to ensure system availability, performance, and scalability
  2. Information security processes are particularly important in government data centres including segregation of duties, physical security measures, antivirus, firewalls, intrusion detection, cybersecurity user training, and audits to prevent manipulation or release of classified information
  3. Good integration practices between GRP systems and other financial subsystems should be leveraged including use of web services and the management of the API lifecycle, while poor practices such as manual uploads, direct database calls, stored procedures, and flat files should be avoided
  4. Separated testing helps accelerate implementations, with configuration sign-offs through demonstrations, reports tested individually, integration tested separately, before full User Acceptance Testing that including configuration, custom reports, integration, and any product code customization

Pandemic Response Performance Indicators

  1. Recognition of limitations and opportunities during the pandemic helps to adjust schedules and deliverables, sometimes with some deliverables taking less time
  2. Sufficient bandwidth in countries to enable remote video conferencing, testing, and demonstrations
  3. Support for remote work spaces like shared virtual room enables oversight in project progress 
  4. Global vendor capabilities can be leveraged remotely that reduces travel costs and time, while mitigating any lack of local resources because the pandemic makes in-country hiring difficult, and local hires may contract COVID-19

GRP Thinking vs. Conventional Thinking

Many of the GRP Project Audit Performance Indicators are counter-intuitive to those versed in legacy project management approaches. That’s the point behind these Performance Indicators: the recognition that conventional thinking reduces implementation success rates.

Conventional project management approaches assume very little differences among:

  • Physical and virtual projects – process of building structures is highly predictable, while software can be done in many ways
  • Knowable and less knowable needs – some projects can start with an expectation of comprehensive understanding, while FMIS projects begin with gaps between tender requirements, and real requirements
  • Complicated and complex scope – some projects requires technical expertise to succeed, while FMIS projects are transformational and complex beyond technical to significant change, communications, and capacity characteristics

PFM and GRP-Specific Templates

The FreeBalance A-i3+qM methodology leverages established agile technology and Public Financial Management tools. Many of these templates are adapted for the PFM and GRP context. FreeBalance has also developed templates based on over 30 years of government financial experiences. Of the over 250 templates, about 150 are specific to PFM and GRP. These templates are combined for advisory, implementation, and sustainability services.

1. A-i3+qM Project Initiation Tools

1.1.7 logical framework canvas

  • Identifies how projects will achieve objectives. Analyzes activities, outputs, purpose and goals. Finds Objectively Verifiable Indicators (OVIs).

1.1.14 solutions architecture

  • Creation of project solutions architecture

1.1.15 project value for money analysis

  • Identifies and tracks efficiency, effectiveness, equity, cost-effectiveness, and economy metrics. Provides financial reporting and links to the success monitoring and agile boards to support monitoring and evaluation.

1.2.1 product opportunity canvas

  • Identifies opportunities to use built-in FreeBalance product features. Identifies low-value and poor-practice feature requests. Supports the development of requirements.

1.2.3 requirements canvas

  • Provides high-level customer requirements for approved feature requests, problems and conditions of satisfaction. Provides the “business context” for specifications development. Identifies differences between commercial and public sector needs.

1.2.4 GRP and PFM project capacity maturity

  • Evaluates government PFM and GRP project capabilities and maturity. Identifies appropriate reform project sequencing.

1.3.1 project team training

  • Trains government project teams on GRP software and concepts at the beginning of projects. Reduces customization requests and change requests.

1.3.2 project team mentoring

  • Assists government project teams to build project, change, and IT management capacity.

1.3.6 talent activation management canvas

  • Assesses government talent to deliver capacity, career planning, performance appraisal, and succession management recommendations. Integrates with capability maturity planning. Supports theory of change.

1.3.7 knowledge sharing canvas

  • Identifies opportunities for knowledge sharing among project members, users and managers.

1.3.9 capability maturity canvas

  • Discovers organizational capabilities and develops capacity development plans using maturity model tools. Supports theory of change.

1.4.1 theory of change canvas

  • Identifies opportunities for social change by integrating goals with necessary preconditions.

1.4.2 change readiness canvas

  • Identifies organizational people, process, resource, and structural change readiness for government reform.

1.4.3 practice change readiness guide

  • Discovers the extent to which practices are not compliant with established processes and legal framework. Supports theory of change.

1.4.4 authorizing environment canvas

  • Determines whether there is sufficient leadership authority and public service empowerment for reform projects and organizational change management.

1.4.5 change management canvas

  • Supports comprehensive change management operating at all times during projects. Change processes includes numerous planning and monitoring tools.

1.4.6 communications & marketing template

  • Brings marketing communications expertise to project and change management including branding, posters, collateral, events, newsletters, internal communications, and project briefing materials.

1.4.12 modern ministry competency

  • Assesses PFM, project, IT, risk, and human capacity competencies for government ministries. Prioritizes capacity building. Identifies opportunities for automation and decentralization. Builds fiscal analysis of policy and cross-departmental planning capabilities.

2. A-i3+qM Country Context Tools

2.1.1 country context canvas

  • Identifies country context for policy and reform by combining over 200 data sources for governance, economics, social-cultural, environmental and technology. Context solidified through government workshops. Supports policy analysis

2.1.2 SDGs canvas

  • Analyzes country SDG priorities and progress against SDGs using SDG dashboards. Integrates SDGs in financial and performance system metadata including Charts of Accounts and Charts of Goals. Supports integration with national development strategies and policy analysis.

2.1.3 citizen wellbeing canvas

  • Develops policy advice based on citizen values leveraging prosperity, wellbeing, equity, and sustainable development statistics. Supports the articulation of wellbeing in national development strategies and policy analysis.

2.1.4 governance gaps canvas

  • Identifies opportunities and constraints to successful modernization and reform. Provides a prioritization roadmap focused on progressively overcoming governance gaps.

2.1.5 assessments improvement guide

  • Identifies which international assessments could improve through reform and modernization. Sets goals for improvements that helps justify reform and modernization.

2.1.6 country brand template

  • Improves trust in government through a brand audit, doing-business benchmark, and fiscal transparency analysis. Develops a roadmap to improve internal country and external credibility.

2.1.8 aid integration canvas

  • Maps integration with aid management systems across the budget cycle including planning, disbursements, commitments, obligations, payments, and results. Supports policy analysis.

2.1.9 national development strategy canvas

  • Enables the creation of national development plans based on the country and government context. Creates hierarchical structure to align Charts of Goals with Charts of Account.

2.1.10 government benchmark canvas

  • Compares governance achievements with peer countries. Supports SWOT analysis and assessments improvement.

2.1.14 policy analytical framework

  • Aligns policy with macroeconomic frameworks, country context, & national development goals. Prioritizes policy initiatives by analyzing impact.

2.1.15 government sustainability analysis

  • Measures environmental sustainability & inclusivity within government organizations. Leverages tools developed for the UN Global Compact

2.2.4 credit rating guide

  • Identifies opportunities to improve credit ratings including cash management, TSA support, procurement spend management, revenue mobilization, and fiscal transparency.

2.2.7 sourcing structures guide

  • Framework for classifying shared arrangements, joint commissioning, outsourcing, SOE, cooperatives, trusts, joint ventures, privatization, nationalization, insourcing, commercialization, government as platform, integrated service delivery, and decentralization methods. Identifies opportunities and risks. Develops risk mitigation.

2.3.1 social infrastructure guide

  • Analyzes priorities and priority sequencing for social investments, including education, health, employment, gender, youth, and social safety net based on the country context. Supports policy analysis.

2.3.2 citizen centric budget guide

  • Enhances budget and national development strategy document communication effectiveness. Includes document and fiscal portals design.

2.3.3 citizen trust canvas

  • Analyzes citizen trust in government using corruption and other perception indices. Supports reform and fiscal transparency priorities.

2.3.4 service delivery canvas

  • Identifies service delivery opportunities using a standard framework considering the country context. Aligns smart and digital technology adoption with service delivery improvements. Analyzes EVA (Economic Value Add) for service delivery improvements.

2.4.1 cost of money and debt canvas

  • Improves borrowing decisions by analyzing the government cost of borrowing based on financial instrument applicability. Identifies fiscal space and liquidity opportunities.

2.4.2 fiscal impact guide

  • Analyzes changes in governmental cost and revenue for projects and programs. Improves decision-making. Supports performance management integration.

2.4.3 diagnostics to PFMCM canvas

  • Identifies reform and modernizing sequencing priorities based on country context and governance diagnostics tools. Can include updating current diagnostics. Maps governance diagnostics to the FreeBalance Public Financial Management Component Map. Supports PFM analysis.

2.4.4 budget integration guide

  • Supports integrated budget and debt scenario analysis and forecasting during budget preparation. Improves budget credibility through comprehensive budget formulation information. Supports MTBF (Medium Term Budget Frameworks) and MTEF (Medium Term Expenditure Framework) development.

2.4.5 integrated scenario guide

  • Improves decision-making through integrated scenario planning, nowcasting, and forecasting examining debt, cost drivers, revenue mobilization, cost recovery, loans, donors, PPPs, insurance, cash management, and spending during budget preparation and execution.

2.4.6 PFM analysis template

  • Identifies PFM reform opportunities based on good practices and existing frameworks. Extends diagnostics to develop PFM reform strategies.

2.4.7 purchasing spend guide

  • Identifies methods to reduce costs for commodity government purchasing including framework agreements and bulk purchasing. Supports domain-specific strategic sourcing approaches.

2.4.8 revenue mobilization guide

  • Identifies methods and reforms to increase tax revenue in government. Supports improved revenue predictability and liquidity.

2.4.9 value for money guide

  • Analyzes government purchasing to identify whether receiving good and consistent pricing. Looks for opportunities to change procurement methods, lump purchases, or use framework contracts. Identifies how value in procurement can align with national development strategies.

2.4.10 MTEF budgeting & scenario planning canvas

  • Develops multiple-year budget planning with scenario planning and forecasting. Leverages financial data to improve budget credibility. Builds MTBF (Medium Term Budget Frameworks) and MTEF (Medium Term Expenditure Framework) structures.

2.4.11 public investment planning canvas

  • Assesses public investment results and alignment with government goals. Provides visibility into post infrastructure implementation operations costs and maintenance sustainability. Supports procurement prioritization and value-for-money analysis.

2.4.12 arrears guide

  • Identifies arrears and arrears risks through reporting, trends and controls analysis.

2.4.13 budget credibility guide

  • Identifies methods to improve budget credibility. Includes improved budget planning, forecasting, execution, and controls.

2.4.14 climate finance guide

  • Identifies climate finance mitigation and adaptation opportunities based on the country context. Informs public investment priorities.

2.4.15 finance ministry modernization canvas

  • Diagnoses level of finance ministry modernization supporting process improvements to more high value deliverables to government. Provides institutional development and recommends organizational changes to align with government goals. Enables finance ministry to improve policy oversight.

2.4.16 PEFA update

  • Updates out-of-date PEFA assessments. Supports PFM reform recommendations.

2.4.17 9Ps canvas

  • Prescribes practical policy, people, performance, procedures and practices with the right pace following a modified platform approach. Acts as a summary for managing projects and services.

2.4.18 statutory reporting

  • Development of government reports meeting national statutory and international standards.

2.4.19 fiscal decentralization

  • Develops plan for fiscal decentralization across line ministries, agencies and government tiers. Leveraged for finance ministry modernization.

2.4.20 civil service reform

  • Develops plans for public service reform including salary scales, benefits, performance, talent and succession management inline with country context.

3. A-i3+qM Government Technology Context Tools

3.1.2 decision data canvas

  • Empowers decision-making through visualizing financial data. Develops dashboards, scorecards, and management alerts. Identifies differences between commercial and public sector needs.

3.2.2 government transparency template

  • Identifies sources of fiscal transparency and improves financial statements transparency. Maps transparency with underlying GRP systems. Recommends methods for automating fiscal transparency. Includes access to information. Supports fiscal branding, portals, and open data.

3.2.3 open data guide

  • Identifies open data opportunities, value proposition, and deployment methods. Includes fiscal and non-fiscal open data. Supports fiscal portal designing.

3.2.5 shared services guide

  • Identifies methods to improve IT, GRP and GovTech costs through sharing of resources, IT infrastructure, and cloud computing. Supports hybrid cloud concepts combining public, community, and private cloud.

3.2.9 participatory guide

  • Identifies whether and where participatory technologies can benefit governments based on the country context. Supports government digital transformation.

3.2.10 CivicTech canvas

  • Identifies whether and where CivicTech and GovTech technologies can benefit governments based on the country context. Supports government digital transformation.

3.2.11 government as platform

  • Creates comprehensive plans to deploy government data and data infrastructure for business development. Includes support for open data and fiscal transparency.

3.3.1 GRP optimization guide

  • Optimizes current GRP investments in FreeBalance, non-FreeBalance COTS, and custom developed software. Supports GRP portfolio analysis. Identifies differences between commercial and public sector needs. Determines how to integrate budget controls across applications.

3.3.2 Fiscal Transparency

  • Identifies fiscal transparency options driven by back-office systems. Describes integration requirements. Calculates potential benefits.

3.3.3 metadata & controls guide

  • Assesses level of integration, integration capabilities, and value of integration by GRP system. Identifies opportunities to integrate systems for decision-making, transparency, commitment controls, government workflow, and segregation of duties.

3.3.4 national goals integration template

  • Evaluates the extent to which a national development plan or country vision is integrated to track spending, and outcomes. Identifies program budgeting, budget classifications, and performance management opportunities.

3.3.5 performance structures template

  • Integrates performance in government financial systems. Creates Chart of Accounts program budgeting, national plans, and Chart of Goals integration with output and outcome targets.

3.3.6 GRP portfolio analysis template

  • Identifies the coverage of GRP functionality across systems and identifies portfolio improvement opportunities. Uses a risk-based approach to modernizing GRP systems based on interoperability necessities and IT infrastructure and procedures. Identifies differences between commercial and public sector needs.

3.3.7 public service planning template

  • Enables government organizations to better plan and adjust for full public service expenses including salaries, benefits, training, and travel expenses. Supports multiple year planning. Forecasts the effects of collective agreements, salary scale, and pension adjustments.

3.3.8 manual process guide

  • Identifies unnecessary manual, workaround and duplicate processes, in GRP systems and subsystems. Identifies process risks and recommends areas for process improvement.

3.3.9 GRP ROI

  • Calculates the realistic 15-year ROI for a GRP investment based on studies. Adjusted based on scope, current investments, and human capacity.

3.3.10 GRP/FMIS Evaluation Criteria

  • Templates for the development or upgrade Government Resource Planning/Financial Management Information System to improve effectiveness. Extends World Bank and Commonwealth Secretariat evaluation checklists.

3.3.11 Government Procurement Selection Criteria

  • Templates for the development or acquisition of an effective government procurement and e-procurement system. Identifies linkages with back-office commitment accounting.

3.3.12 Tax Administration Selection Criteria

  • Templates for the development of effective government tax administration, case management, and e-tax systems. Supports income, customs, sales, VAT, property, and inheritance taxes.

3.3.13 Civil Service Management Selection Criteria

  • Templates for the development of effective civil service management systems including payroll, workforce management, pensions, recruitment, talent, succession, capacity building, and budget planning.

3.4.1 technology infrastructure guide

  • Evaluates technology infrastructure resilience, service performance, reliability, elasticity, and modernity. Supports GRP portfolio, shared services and cloud planning.

3.4.2 government portal guide

  • Improves citizen communications through government and ministry portal designs with integrated content management and communications strategies.

3.4.4 IT spend negotiation guide

  • Assists governments to negotiate IT contracts based on FreeBalance knowledge of equipment and middleware prices.

3.4.5 platform modernization guide

  • Identifies opportunities for improving technology platforms in governments. Supports technology infrastructure planning. Identifies differences between commercial and public sector needs.

3.4.6 legacy to postmodern guide

  • Evaluates government enterprise software systems in ability to progressively activation to support future modernization, and deployability into cloud infrastructures.

3.4.7 risk-based modernization guide

  • Identifies modernization priorities by analyzing all enterprise subsystem functionality and technology gaps. Includes GRP and non GRP systems. Leverages a risk matrix approach.

3.4.8 points of failure guide

  • Identifies points of failure and recommends remedies in IT systems and GRP integration points. Extends risk-based modernization.

3.4.9 systems procedures articulation guide

  • Articulates procedures in policies and procedures manuals, with workflow diagrams. Can include formalizing in content management systems.

3.4.10 API canvas

  • Designs Application Program Interfaces (APIs) in FreeBalance and custom software to support interoperability.

3.4.11 IT capability maturity canvas

  • Assesses government information technology maturity including hardware, operating systems, databases and middleware. Examines procedures and capabilities. Recommends improvements in technology infrastructure and systems procedures.

3.4.13 GRP cloud optimization guide

  • Determines best choice for GRP deployment by function. Uses risk and value analysis for on-premises, private cloud, community cloud, and public cloud recommendations. Identifies differences between commercial and public sector needs.

3.4.14 EnSw cloud optimization guide

  • Determines best choice for deployment of enterprise software beyond GRP. Uses risk and value analysis for on-premises, private cloud, community cloud, and public cloud recommendations. Identifies differences between commercial and public sector needs.

3.4.15 build vs buy optimization guide

  • Identifies best government options for enterprise software acquisition and adaptation. Analyzes build, adapt, and buy options. Recommends sourcing approaches.

3.4.16 open systems guide

  • Identifies open source and open systems options for government to reduce IT operating costs, support interoperability and enable innovation.

3.4.20 identity guide

  • Identifies revenue mobilization, service delivery, anti-corruption, and financial inclusion benefits for digital and biometric citizen identities based on country contexts. Determines appropriate technology infrastructure, regulatory environment, and cybersecurity approaches. Offering can be narrowed to support public service digital identity.

3.4.21 enterprise architecture

  • Develops enterprise architectures linked to national development strategies. Support technology architecture development.

4. A-i3+qM Project Governance Tools

4.1.1 project environment canvas

  • Identifies high-level project objectives and timelines. Establishes project governance structures. Articulates project management methodology. Integrates with 9Ps and stakeholder canvases. Drives the project charter. Identifies changes in project environment during implementation.

4.1.2 stakeholder canvas

  • Identifies project stakeholders, stakeholder needs, and effective mechanisms for communications. Integrates with marketing and communications approach. Tracks changes in stakeholders during implementation.

4.1.3 agile and waterfall risk guide

  • Evaluates risks of using agile and waterfall project management techniques based on the country and government context. Recommends agile, waterfall, or hybrid approaches based on project context. Tracks and reports method risks during implementation.

4.1.5 positive deviance guide

  • Identifies areas of positive practices currently used by governments that operate well in the context. These practices often appear during project implementation. Adjusts good practice design. Leverages problem-driven approaches.

4.1.9 project culture canvas

  • Encourages cooperation by identifying project team and FreeBalance team cultural and work norms. Describes any team dynamic changes during implementation. Useful when organizational change management is on the critical path. Leverages change management tools.

4.1.10 review guide

  • Supports periodic documentation using the agile board and combining completion material. Requires review from senior government, partner, and FreeBalance decision-makers. Documents project changes. Supports monitoring & evaluation.

4.1.11 waterfall guide

  • Adapts some FreeBalance agile processes to waterfall or hybrid waterfall when imposed by government contracts. Leverages agile and waterfall risk assessments. Attempts to mitigate negative effects of legacy practices.

4.1.12 post & premortem template

  • Identifies project aspirations by narrating possible project success and failure factors to inform the project environment. Evaluates project results against aspirations.

4.1.13 interview template

  • Plans user and stakeholder interviews, note taking, categorization and analysis during planning, implementation, and testing. Leverages stakeholder analysis.

4.1.16 project audit guide

  • Development of project audits at any stage. Identifies project management improvements Assesses whether project achieved objectives.

4.1.18 governance structure

  • Provides a documented diagram for project governance including steering committees, escalation and decision-making workflow. Program management offices are empowered to make technical decisions.

4.2.1 customization avoidance guide

  • Identifies process and product gaps with analysis of whether code customization is justified. Evaluates software change requests based on value and whether software provides same outcomes in different ways. Adjusts scope, timing and costs during implementation through sign-offs

4.2.4 capacity building and training guide

  • Plans user capacity building based on needs. Covers software, PFM, IT, project & change management. Monitors capacity improvement during implementation.

4.3.7 operating system canvas

  • Articulates structural changes. Designs better, simpler, and cleaner organizational models. Output from finance ministry modernization analysis.

4.3.10 process articulation

  • Standard method to articulate government processes.

5. A-i3+qM Product Implementation Tools

5.1.1 workshop blueprint

  • Creates a FreeBalance Accountability Suite training configuration by adapting the standard configuration based on RFP requirements and proposal scripts. Used for project team training.

5.1.2 good practices blueprint

  • Benchmarks practices in place with appropriate practices for the current government situation. Identifies practice improvement opportunities.

5.1.3 GRP reference blueprint

  • Compares current implementation parameters with recommended good practices. Identifies configuration improvement opportunities in the FreeBalance Accountability Suite to match improved practices.

5.1.4 implementation blueprint

  • Creates the implementation blueprint with the actual configurations to be used to manage public finances.

5.1.5 blueprint generator

  • Documents blueprint configuration from the system at any point in the FreeBalance Accountability Suite implementation.

5.1.8 custom documentation

  • Method and template to develop custom documentation. Develops custom help using the adaptable help functionality. Integrates help and documentation.

5.2.1 parameters

  • Configures business rules in the FreeBalance Accountability Suite. All government entities includes sets of adjustable parameters. Parameters include making information fields mandatory or not mandatory, with default data, and automatic numbering.

5.2.2 chart of accounts

  • Develops core Chart of Accounts (COA) including concepts and side concepts in the FreeBalance Accountability Suite. Supports multiple-year COA to support government reform and modernization. Integrates budget and accounting classifications. Supports reporting standards like COFOG, GFS, and IPSAS. Supports program budgeting. Enables valid code combinations and General Ledger offsets. Enables performance management. No logical limit to COA, segment, or hierarchy sizes.

5.2.3 organization chart

  • Develops personnel organizational chart aligned with the Chart of Accounts in the FreeBalance Accountability Suite. Builds data access security within the system based on organizational chart across multiple segments. Supports automatic approval escalations based on organizational chart. Enables asset responsibility and assignment

5.2.4 chart of goals

  • Develops output and outcome performance targets aligned with the Chart of Accounts in similar hierarchy in the FreeBalance Accountability Suite. Supports performance indicators, balanced scorecard logic maps, and OKRs (Objectives and Key Results). Aligns with program budgeting.

5.2.5 localization

  • Enables changing language and terminology in the FreeBalance Accountability Suite. Supports Unicode. Leverages single translation file for screen names, metadata, error messages. Supports unique organizational terminology. Enables terminology changes post-implementation.

5.2.6 interface Excel

  • Supports interfacing information from systems that do not have effective built-in integration with the FreeBalance Accountability Suite. Generates an Excel file with needed fields of information. Validates interface content through all business rules used in the FreeBalance Accountability Suite configuration.

5.2.7 bulk load

  • Enables uploading large amounts of data, typically for data migration from legacy systems to the FreeBalance Accountability Suite. May require data cleansing and data validation.

5.2.8 workflow template

  • Designs workflow processes to be used in the FreeBalance Accountability Suite. Adds documentation to blueprints.

5.2.9 screens

  • Adjusts screen flow, including hiding non-mandatory but unnecessary fields within the FreeBalance Accountability Suite.

5.2.10 custom domains

  • Creates additional information tables and fields for government entities in the FreeBalance Accountability Suite. Supports full parameterization of tables and fields. No logical limit to numbers of tables and fields that can be added.

5.2.11 security access matrix

  • Identifies permissions by users, groups, applications.

5.3.4 solution sandbox testing guide

  • Tests prototypes, MVPs, product alpha and beta versions at government innovation centres or during custom development.

5.3.5 requirements validation template

  • Ensures that articulated product requirements are valid for the country and government context. Enables hands-on testing include experiment, A/B, and usability processes.

5.3.6 specifications template

  • Articulates detailed product specifications for software engineering after requirements validation.

5.3.8 business case template

  • Articulates and structures the business case for any government product or project initiative. Supported by the value proposition canvas. Adapts to the business case process used by individual organizations.

5.4.1 configuration acceptance canvas

  • Accelerates project completion by configuring system parameters in workshops and eliminating unnecessary documentation. Generates test plan completion information.

5.4.2 test plan template

  • Generates effective product test plans based on blueprints and workshop work. Supports creation of test plans before any custom development or configuration. Operates in an agile fashion by validating functionality iteratively. Supports user acceptance guide for final testing.

5.4.3 user acceptance guide

  • Tests the full capabilities of the FreeBalance Accountability Suite customization and configuration to meet implementation requirements. Supported by test plans and configuration acceptance.

5.4.6 usability test template

  • Structures user experience testing for software or websites. Supports A/B UX testing.

5.4.8 storyboard canvas

  • Develops prototype storyboards for testing in design-thinking processes. Leverages personas to define user goals.

6. A-i3+qM Government Sustainability Tools

6.1.1 product support

  • Enables FreeBalance to assist governments to sustain software products and technology platforms. Includes help desk, knowledge base, feature requests, troubleshooting, SWAT teams, software updates, FreeBalance International Steering Committee, and FreeBalance Ministers’ Roundtable. Creates SLAs (Service Level Agreements).

6.1.2 help desk support

  • Improves IT maintenance, support and troubleshooting through help desk software and processes. Includes updating processes for existing help desks. Enables comprehensive help desk processes beyond support for the FreeBalance Accountability Suite.

6.1.3 SWAT team support

  • Analyzes government strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for public policy, digital transformation, reform and modernization initiatives.

6.1.4 upgrade support

  • Assists governments to upgrade to the most recent version of the FreeBalance Accountability Suite, commercial applications, middleware, and network hardware.

6.1.5 progressive activation blueprint

  • Plans future configuration blueprints by matching improved capacity, process changes, and legal reform. Leverages configuration capabilities of the FreeBalance Accountability Suite

6.1.6 managed service provision

  • Provides comprehensive remote FreeBalance Accountability Suite monitoring and support for private or public cloud implementations. Supports remote management of technology infrastructure. Automatically generates help desk tickets to manage and communicate troubleshooting. Creates SLAs (Service Level Agreements).

6.1.8 FreeBalance help desk integration

  • Integrates government IT and FreeBalance Accountability Suite help desks with the FreeBalance help desk to automatically log issues, progress, and completion.

6.1.9 knowledge management

  • Leverages groupware knowledge management software and processes to extend help functions within the FreeBalance Accountability Suite. Includes searching on structured knowledge list to help users and management. Supports answering questions and confirming answers.

6.3.1 refresher training

  • Builds civil service capacity through scheduled annual product, product upgrade, and practice training.

6.3.4 curriculum design canvas

  • Designs specialized curricula based on country context and government needs. Packages different forms of FreeBalance training.

6.3.5 product training

  • Customized training, recognizing the country context, for the FreeBalance Accountability Suite. Coordinates with needed PFM training.

6.3.6 change management training

  • Customized training, recognizing the country context, for organizational change management. Builds organizational change capabilities. Aligns with implementation change approaches.

6.3.7 project management training

  • Customized training, recognizing the country context, for project management. Improves project team capacity. Builds understanding of agile processes. Leverages full content of the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge).

6.3.8 PFM training

  • Customized training, recognizing the country context, for public financial management. Coordinates PFM and FreeBalance Accountability Suite training.

6.3.9 good governance training

  • Customized training, recognizing the country context, for good governance. Extends PFM domain training to audit, anti-corruption, transparency, internal control, accountability, and policy integration. Builds capacity in national development goal and performance integration.

6.3.10 leadership training

  • Customized training, recognizing the country context, for public service leadership skills. Covers persuasion, communications, and behavioural concepts. Supports the use of problem-driven approaches.

6.3.11 ICT training

  • Customized training, recognizing the country context, for information and communications technology, including support for the FreeBalance Accountability Platform. Covers the software stack necessary to support the FreeBalance Accountability Suite. Builds ICT policies and procedures capacity. Supports bi-modal approaches.

6.3.15 custom manuals

  • Development of custom user and administration manuals leveraging generic manuals. Includes specific screens, workflow, reports, and metadata used. Can include custom help creation and deployment of manuals in the content management system.

6.4.7 medium term sustainability framework

  • Multiple year plan to sustain PFM reform covering institution building, legal changes, process improvements, IT infrastructure modernization, system interoperability, GRP upgrades and updates. Leverages a risk-based approach.

6.4.5 quarterly strategy meetings

  • Provides direct government to senior FreeBalance executives for planning and evaluating governance strategies and results. Identifies success factors for future reform and modernization. Identifies problem spaces for analysis.


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