When the team leading Deepwater Horizon restoration efforts out of NOAA Fisheries decided to develop a program-level strategic plan, they turned to the Fisheries Information System Program’s Quality Management and Continuous Improvement Professional Specialty Group.
“As we move more deeply into development, implementation, and evaluation of restoration activities, we continue to work with a wide variety of NOAA offices contributing to Deepwater Horizon oil spill restoration,” said NOAA Deepwater Horizon Restoration Program Manager Rachel Sweeney. “For the critical task of strategic planning, we wanted to engage with a group that is familiar with the agency mission and has a track record of success. That’s why we were excited to learn about the Quality Management and Continuous Improvement Professional Specialty Group.”
“The purpose of our group is to provide trainings and workshops to teams involved in meeting fisheries data challenges, and we can expand that skill set into other complex areas,” said Glenn Campbell, computer specialist at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center and chair of the Professional Specialty Group. “Hoshin Kanri strategic planning is among the many quality management tools that we can help integrate into program operations across NOAA Fisheries.”
To launch its long-term strategic planning process, Deepwater Horizon team members participated in an intensive three-day workshop hosted by the Professional Specialty Group. By the end of the workshop, the team had developed a series of actionable tactics and initiatives. These will advance the program’s vision of a sustainable, healthy, and restored Gulf of Mexico ecosystem where abundant resources contribute to vibrant and resilient communities.
Sweeney emphasized that the process provided more than a road map toward full restoration. It also helped reinforce the program’s core values, such as innovation, stewardship, and collaboration across NOAA. This will help the team bring the agency’s immense expertise and experience to bear on the challenge of Gulf restoration.
“A big part of this is successfully explaining to the public and stakeholders—in a meaningful and transparent way—what our work is all about,” Sweeney said. “It’s about much more than money spent or initiatives completed. It’s about helping turtles and marine mammals recover, recovering fisheries impacted by the spill, and restoring important coastal and deep sea habitats for the support they provide to a wide variety of managed resources—all in the context of furthering recovery of the Gulf of Mexico and its communities.”