Web Management at HUD - Why It Works


HUD posted its first Internet website in April 1995. HUD's Intranet followed in November 1996. In 1998, HUD Answer Machines (computer workstations) were located in every HUD office, providing free access to HUD's website to all citizens. And later in 1998, HUD introduced its HUD Kiosks, providing 24-hour access to basic HUD information in convenient locations throughout the country.

All of these web-based information products are managed by HUD's Departmental Web Team, a group of professional Management Analysts who are part of the Deputy Secretary's staff. Web Team members serve as consultants to managers - helping them identify ways to use the web to accomplish their goals, editors-in-chief of the web products, and promoters of HUD's web efforts.

Why It Works

HUD's web-based information products have received numerous awards and recognition both within and outside the Federal community. The reasons for that success are simple - but very important:

  1. Organizational Placement: HUD's Web Team is tied to the chief operating officer in the Department - the Deputy Secretary; thus, the web is an integral part of the way HUD does business.
  2. Neutrality: Since they are attached to the Deputy Secretary, the Web Team has no program ties and no real or perceived agenda to favor one program area over another. This is critical to maintaining the trust and cooperation of the various program areas.
  3. Access to Top Management: The websites - both Internet and intranet - are in synch with the Secretary's and Deputy Secretary's direction because the Web Managers have access to top Department executives.
  4. Centralized Content: HUD has one Internet website for the entire Department. While all offices in HUD contribute to the website, their sections do not stand-alone. Citizens and partners only have to come to one place to find what they need.
  5. Audience Focused: HUD's Internet website has been conceived - from the beginning  - from the point of view of the audience. It is organized and written in ways that make sense to the various audiences HUD targets: citizens and business partners.
  6. Mission Focused: Further, HUD's Internet website is designed around HUD's mission - to help people find homes and to improve our Nation's communities…not around HUD's organization. So the website serves as a clearinghouse or portal to useful information and services about homes and communities, no matter where they're located.
  7. Content-Driven: People come to HUD's website for the content - not for the technology. So content needs drive the design and use of technology, not vice versa.
  8. Skilled Staff: It's like that old adage: you get what you pay for. HUD has hired skilled analysts to craft web based information products that truly do what they're intended to do: serve the public, inform employees, and carry out HUD's mission. In addition to the Departmental Web Team, Web Managers in the program and Regional Offices consult, write, edit, and promote the web within their own organizations.
  9. Clear Roles: Web Managers at HUD develop and manage the content of the websites; and the organization of the Chief Information Officer handles the technical aspects. Lines of responsibility are clear: the Web Managers define the requirements and the CIO provides the service. But they work in partnership, trading ideas and exploring new opportunities to seize the power of coming technologies. Everyone understands the model, and - therefore - it works efficiently.
  10. Commitment from the Top: You can't say enough about the importance of commitment from the top; and HUD's Secretary and Deputy Secretary traditionally have been supportive of the development and improvement of HUD's web-based efforts.

It's not one thing - but the combination of many factors - that has made HUD's web products a success.

Last Modified: 02/07/03

Content Archived: November 17, 2011