Evaluation of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Teams Pilot: Final Report. A5.3.1 Developing the Work Plan


The Memphis SC2 team was deployed in September 2011. Upon arrival, a kickoff meeting was held in Memphis with team members, both those located in Memphis and those working remotely. The SC2 team later met with city agencies and community organizations to identify opportunities for SC2 team involvement. The SC2 team first spent time reviewing the 12 priorities identified in the initial assessment. The SC2 team lead reported that there was little specific guidance from either the city or the federal initiative on where the SC2 team should focus its efforts in Memphis beyond these priority areas. As a result, the team members worked among themselves to translate the priority areas into specific action items to be included in the work plan. In doing so, they consulted with the city’s chief learning officer and deputy chief administrative officer and key stakeholders such as the mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team.

In November 2011, the SC2 team presented its work plan to the city points of contacts and the mayor for approval. The Memphis work plan was organized into nine categories: government efficiency, relationship with federal government, human capital, transportation, economic development, health, public safety, sustainability, and a set of possible projects. Each of these nine categories had associated sub-goals/action items. The tracking-style work plan allowed the team to keep a record of team members responsible for each task and target accomplishment dates.

As the SC2 team started implementing the November 2011 plan, they found that the list of action items was too broad to be manageable. The SC2 team lead therefore approached the newly elected mayor to narrow down his priorities for the city and provide further input into how SC2 could fit into his vision. In response to this request, and in preparation for his first full mayoral term starting January 1, the mayor formed a Strategic Policy and Planning Team, led by the SC2 team lead.

In late 2011 and early 2012, the SC2 team lead spent a great deal of time reviewing the 42 different plans that the City of Memphis had at the time and culling priorities from across the plans. Together, the SC2 team lead and members of the Strategic Policy and Planning Team settled on four priorities and wrote a vision statement to guide the new term. These priorities were to create safe and vibrant neighborhoods, grow prosperity and opportunity for all, invest in young people, and advance a culture of excellence in government.

After working with the Strategic Policy and Planning Team to hone the four priorities for Memphis, the SC2 team lead elaborated on the vision statement to draft talking points, a communications strategy, and action items and metrics under each priority. The SC2 team lead also helped to write the mayor’s “State of the City” speech. The SC2 team then updated its work plan to fit within the four priorities adopted by the mayor for his next term. That work plan then guided the SC2 team’s actions for the next six months until the first SC2 team lead transitioned off the project.

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