The story of Frank

‘I don’t like to wait and remain uncertain. So I do not want our applicants to have to go through this either’

Frank is portfolio manager at the Information Provision Department (IV) of the IND. In his job, he advises the Management Board of the IND on projects and programmes. What is important? What has priority? “ With my critical view, analyses and recommendations, I see to it that we as an organisation can make the right choices, so that we can achieve our targets and are increasingly better able to help our applicants.”
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Photo of Frank
What is now most important for the IND, what will we choose?

Each year the IND envisions certain targets. For example to be an inclusive organisation. Or to be more guided by information in our work. And there is also a multi-year vision to turn the IND into a modern service provider. “These kinds of long-term projects ensure that the IND must frequently look ahead. And that is not always easy”, says Frank. “The pressure of work is high at the IND, through which you run the risk into putting all your energy into the delusion of the day. But this does not make it less important to look ahead and determine our strategy. Because this is exactly where the opportunities and possibilities can be found to change. And therefore to relieve the pressure of work as well.”

Looking beyond tomorrow

Then is Frank so strategic? He laughs: “Not necessarily. But I am nevertheless very good at looking beyond tomorrow. If I provide the IND Management Board with good information and recommendations, then I facilitate their decision-making processes. By that I mean that they can take better decisions more easily. And, believe me, that is not really simple when your organisation is faced with so much. So the questions I ask on a regular basis are: what is now most important for the IND? What do we focus on and what do we choose? I compile the IND Portfolio on the basis of the answers to these questions.”

Often an ICT component

The IND Portfolio is therefore a document that provides insight into the projects the IND tackles to achieve the organisation’s targets. These projects very often have an ICT component. Frank: “I work at the IV Department (Information Provision Department), but I am not an ICT specialist. But many projects do have an impact on ICT. Take for example a project such as the Open Government Act (WOO). This concerns adjustments to our provision of information, our processes and therefore also modifications to our systems and software. But, ICT component or not, each project ultimately helps us to provide better services to our applicants. Because that is what we want to achieve. I am pleased to be involved in selecting the change projects that make these targets possible.

Finding peace and quiet and a balance

If Frank were to summarise his position in two words, then these are: finding balance. “Introducing peace and quiet within the organisation. A good portfolio helps to find a balance and to aim at results. My colleagues also call me ‘the man with the difficult questions’. I challenge them to be clear and specific and to make choices. This is not always easy, but it is very important nonetheless.”

Putting recommendations into practice

Frank has meanwhile worked at the IND for 4.5 years. He already had a similar position at a municipality. “And before that I worked for it as an external consultant. At the time, I went to organisations and gave them advice on the structuring of portfolio management. But then I just gave advice and left. I could not tell whether that advice worked in practice – I was unable to adjust or improve anything. I did not like that. I am therefore glad that I am involved in the complete process at the IND, from set-up to implementation, and can also make adjustments.”

I like to put my time and energy into this

“I like to put my time and energy into this”, says Frank. “The issues at the IND are very complicated and socially relevant. But if we set up and execute good change projects together, we can improve this increasingly more. And shorten waiting times. For me, this is what portfolio management is about. If the IND takes good decisions on change projects and priorities, this will see to it that we provide better services. This will enable colleagues to do their work better, and applicants will have clarity sooner about whether they have a right of residence in the Netherlands. I notice that I get frustrated myself if I make an application somewhere and have to wait 3 weeks unnecessarily and remain uncertain. Then I already find this almost unacceptable. So I do not want our applicants to go through this either.”

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