How the Technology Modernization Fund Board decides which projects to fund

The US General Services Administration headquarters is seen April 19, 2012 in Washington, DC. The agency is at the center of an overspending scandal. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

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Seven new federal agency IT projects on Thursday received a total of $311 million in fresh support from the Technology Modernization Fund. But how does the board in charge decide which proposals to fund?

Responsibility for selecting how the TMF should spend its money sits with the Technology Modernization Fund Board, which is made up of seven senior officials: three permanent board members, and four temporary members appointed by the director of the Office of Management and Budget.

First, the TMF Board issues a call for submissions — known as initial project proposals — to identify ideas for IT modernization that could have some of the biggest effects across government.

Board members then use four key benchmarks to decide which projects to take forward from the initial proposal stage: impact on user mission, feasibility, opportunity enablement and common solutions.

Impact on user mission translates in part to how visible a modernization program will be to the taxpayer. Feasibility, meanwhile, includes factors such as how much support a proposal has from inside an agency, and the credibility of the intended implementation strategy.

The board then decides which proposals should make it to the second selection stage and invites successful applicants to present a full project proposal. At this point, it will conduct an in-depth analysis of the financial plan included with each project.

At the second stage, the board then makes a final decision about which projects should receive funding. A contract is then drawn up between the GSA-managed TMF program office and the agency project team.

Funds are then disbursed incrementally to the successful applicants, and each project is assessed on a quarterly basis by the board to ensure they remain on track.

Commenting on the disbursement of funds on Thursday, Federal Chief Information Security Officer Chris DeRusha emphasized that the TMF Board would use the latest round of awards as a learning process for IT modernization best practice.

“The TMF Board and GSA will be tracking the progress of these projects, capturing lessons learned, and making adjustments along the way to help them be successful,” he said.

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Chris DeRusha, General Services Administration (GSA), Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Technology Modernization Fund Board, TMF
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