GAO finds motifs in successful IT projects

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A Government Accountability Office study released Nov. 14 examined seven successfully acquired government IT investments and found certain concepts used in at least three of the acquisitions.

The common factors found in successful projects included program officials being actively engaged with stakeholders, which garnered use by all seven projects. Surprisingly, only three of the projects reported receiving sufficient funding. Other critical items to projects’ success dealt with program staff having necessary knowledge and skills and program staff prioritizing requirements.

The study had a focus on oversight and management of IT acquisition.

The GAO report is partly in response to federal IT projects’ frequent tardiness in meeting schedule benchmarks and going over budget.

“According to the Office of Management and Budget, despite spending more than $600 billion on IT over the past decade, the federal government has achieved little of the productivity improvements that private industry has realized from IT,” the report said.

GAO recommended improving the accuracy of information on the federal IT Dashboard and holding additional TechStat reviews to establish clearer action on troubled programs.

Legislation such as the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996, which requires agency managers to maximize the value of their IT investments and assets, and the E-Government Act of 2002, which established the CIO Council to improve agency practices, have tried to increase productivity.

Though legislation has been a positive influence on major IT programs, the federal government still invests in problematic projects, according to the GAO report.

The successful projects GAO studied totaled about $5 billion and were part of a variety of departments including Commerce, Defense, Energy and others.

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Congress, Government Accountability Office (GAO), Government IT News, Tech
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