Information Sharing and Safeguarding Environment Playbook Principles

This Playbook is intended to help users in their quest to create or enhance an effective and efficient Information Sharing and Safeguarding (IS&S) Environment, and can be used at any point in the environment’s lifecycle, even starting over from scratch!

The IS&S Environment Playbook has been designed with the following principles in mind:principles graphic

  • Information sharing and safeguarding environments are built on a set of capabilities and services that provide ways to exchange information for better decision making, across systems, organizations, jurisdictions, and domains. 
  • Taking the if-you-build-it-they-will-come approach often does not work – it can be a costly failure and it can result in irreversible damage to trust in the project goals. The continuous engagement of the end user throughout the entire process will increase the probability of IS&S Environment success.
  • IS&S Standards are the lifeblood of information sharing and safeguarding and should be considered in every project and used wherever and whenever possible. If there is a technological reason that will not currently allow for the use of standards, these standards should be a part of the future planning process for enhancements/upgrades.
  • Automation is essential in IS&S testing; it significantly speeds the development and deployment of IS&S Environments and improves process and system replication.
  • Throughout the lifecycle, decisions are coordinated and made at the lowest possible level of organizational competency.
  • It pays to use advanced program and development methodologies where the users are intimately involved in making incremental and iterative progress (e.g., Agile development process) rather than the traditional system development life cycle (e.g., waterfall).
  • Almost every play is iterative, in that initial trials often lead to repetition but at a higher scale of implementation. For example, initial start-up funding will be easier to acquire than whole project funding at the outset of the project.  

There are also a few key principles that will help guide the use of this Playbook:

  • The Playbook is meant to be functional at a starting-from-scratch level, however, we know that many different types of organizations at varying levels of experience will access these plays. For beginning users, consider the plays as a suggested roadmap and incorporate the tried and tested processes of your more experienced team members. For more advanced users, take an opportunity to view these plays and see if there is anything you are missing in your current process.
  • While the intent of the Playbook is to make every Play valuable, we understand that players in various roles might have different interests or focuses when viewing the Playbook as a whole. The following table shows the targeted audience for each of the Plays based on three general roles: Executive, Mid-level Managers, and Implementers.

is&s playbook user table

  • There are plenty of tricky spots that users will encounter along the road towards an IS&S Environment, and one of the most tricky can be the interaction between government and solution providers in the context of procurement. In the pre-procurement phase, there is a low risk for open discussions between government and industry, but as the procurement phase evolves, the risk increases and many limitations may be introduced. We recognize the difficulty in walking this fine line, and the plays try to speak at a very general level so many different agencies can adapt them as needed.
  • When you discover a resource that others can use in their quest for an IS&S Environment, share it with us! Become a part of the collaborative community by contributing your experience and artifacts for the benefit of future projects. (We think this is so important, we included sharing as a play in the Playbook!)

The Playbook was developed by the IJIS Institute for the Standards Coordinating Council using the U.S. Digital Services Playbook as the foundational framework and incorporating a number of existing resources and methodologies in the plays.

Your feedback is always welcome, and we are especially interested in hearing from the community of interest about resources that we can add to each of the plays. Please contact us through the Contact page on the Standards Coordinating Council’s website or by emailing