Whether its telecomm solutions for small agencies, combined administrative functions, or shared data storage capacity, federal leaders talk a lot about shared services.  The topic, indeed, is nothing new, though the Trump Administration is making it a key part of the President’s Management Agenda (PMA).  All of this senior-level hype, though, doesn’t always match the reality that shared services projects are tough to pull off at lower levels.  It seems that giving up ownership, real or perceived, is not something that comes naturally to federal agencies.  To be fair, each agency has its own oversight community.  Whether it’s an internal IG organization, Congress, or GAO, there are always a host of overseers ready to point out where things went wrong if an agency loses control of an operation that a stakeholder cares a lot about.  Tracking shared services opportunities can be maddening for contractorsThe talk, heard in countless conferences and other events, makes it sound like shared service solutions are poised to sweep the federal landscape.  Veterans, though, know that we’ve heard the talk before, geared up in anticipation, and then torn our preparations down again as agencies generally go off and do their own thing.  The key to knowing whether your customer is serious is not whether their senior execs talk about shared services, but when line level PM’s start talking about it – to you.