Federal IT Oversight Bill in the Pipeline

Lora Bentley

If Sen. Thomas Carper (D-Del.) has his way, federal agencies undertaking IT projects will have a lot of explaining to do if they fail.


According to ZDNet blogger Michael Krigsman, Senate Bill 90, The Information Technology Investment Oversight Enhancement and Waste Prevention Act of 2009, would require federal agencies to establish Web sites that will inform the public of the following:


  • cost, schedule and performance of major IT investments
  • list of project elements that have missed projects benchmark by more than 10 percent and explanations as to why they have missed said benchmarks
  • dates on which project investments were "rebalanced"
  • graphs of project trends
  • quarterly updates of all of the above


The bill also calls for the creation of "tiger teams" to help agencies whose projects are in trouble to avoid significant losses. The tiger teams will be made up of individuals who either 1) are certified as senior or expert project and program managers in the federal certification program; 2) have comparable education, training and experience to successfully manage IT projects; or 3) have experience and expertise in managing high-risk IT investment projects. To avoid conflict of interest, tiger team members will be assigned to work on failing projects within their own agencies.


Finally, the bill also outlines the steps agencies are allowed to take to "fix" failing or troubled projects.


Krigsman agrees the bill is a good idea and should be pursued, but he also offered this to Sen. Carper: Your bill is somewhat vague in certain areas and lacks sufficient teeth in others; nonetheless, all things considered you've achieved a good starting point. However, please explain your confidence level that those executing the plan will have sufficient independence to actually do the job objectively and thoroughly?


In response, Carper's staff has asked Krigsman for his thoughts on the proposed legislation. It will certainly be interesting to watch how this bill progresses.

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Jun 18, 2009 10:22 AM Sam Sam  says:

Don Quixote trying to rein in incompetence. Okaaaaaay........

Tiger teams?  I guess they don't read Brooks' "Mythical Man Month" any more in the schools.

How many of us in the industry have watched management trying to take exactly these steps to regain control of an out of control project?  Note that every one of the steps in his program will add to the overhead of the project, and I can't identify one that the PM shouldn't already be on top of.

This has all of the earmarks of painting the birdhouse after the horses have escaped the barn.  Irrelevant and pointless.

Good luck to us all.

Jun 18, 2009 2:36 PM HH HH  says:

Generally the issue is the government doesn't want to spend the money to buy the right tools or pay for the right people. It's hardly surprising that projects are generally run so poorly in government


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