Federal IT Oversight Bill in the Pipeline


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.