description icon green arrowThe first step in Information Sharing and Safeguarding (IS&S) Environment projects is exploring and pinpointing the needs of the people who will use the service, and the ways the IS&S Environment will allow them to fulfill their missions. The needs of people and their organizational missions — not constraints of government processes or legacy systems — should inform technical and design decisions. Part of this step is to establish the collaboration environment where the stakeholders agree to work together to create a useful and effective sharing environment.


Desired Outcome: Representatives of stakeholder organizations approve the written definition of requirements to be met by implementing an information sharing environment.


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1. Early in the project, spend time with current and prospective users of the capabilities and services in the IS&S Environment and understand their organizational missions and areas where the missions intersect. 

2. Use a range of qualitative and quantitative research methods to determine people’s goals, needs, and behaviors; be thoughtful about the time spent. 

3. Obtain commitments from key stakeholder organizations to the principle of collaborating in the creation of an information sharing environment. 

4. Develop processes to identify and resolve conflicts within stakeholder community regarding needs. 

5. Identify the cultural impediments that are keeping stakeholders from implementing the IS&S Environment. 

6. Document the findings about user goals, needs, behaviors, and preferences. 

7. Share findings with the team, the stakeholders, and agency leadership. 

8. Create a prioritized list of outcomes the user is trying to accomplish, also known as user stories.

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1. Who are your primary users? 

2. Are the key stakeholders willing to collaborate in the building of an information sharing environment? 

3. Is the service that is being developed meeting the customer’s needs? 

4. What user needs will the IS&S Environment address? Is there general agreement on the user needs? If not, which ones are the most important to the mission? 

5. Why does the user want or need this service? Is there a common need among potential users? 

6. Which people will have the most difficulty with signing up to collaborate? How can that be overcome? 

7. Which research methods were used to understand user needs? 

8. What are the privacy and safeguarding implications in meeting user expectations in an IS&S Environment?

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The following resources can help you with this play:


Pre-RFP Toolkit (v3-2013), IJIS Institute,


American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) Community Corrections Automated Case Management Procurement Guide with Bid Specifications, Matz, A. K. (2012), APPA and Council of State Governments,


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