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Veterans Affairs Places 45 IT Projects Under Review

The VA made use of the federal government's new IT Dashboard, which is aimed at providing increased visibility into government IT spending.

The VA's audit is part of a broader review of the department's 300 IT projects ordered by Shinseki, and comes on the heels of the announcement of new project management processes, known as the Project Management Accountability System, to increase oversight of the VA's IT projects and budget.

PMAS requires that projects have milestones in place for delivering new functionality. Projects that don't meet those milestones receive increased scrutiny. Three missed milestones are grounds for stalling and reassessing the projects.

"Our goal is to increase our success rate for our systems development projects," said the VA's new CIO, Roger Baker. "PMAS and the IT Dashboard will be critical indicators of whether our IT projects are on schedule and on budget, and if they are not, we will take swift action to cut down on waste and redundancy."

Kundra said more agencies will likely follow in the VA's footsteps in coming months. Federal agencies have until August 1 to re-evaluate their IT investments. OMB analysts who went line-by-line over the federal IT budget earlier this year have been meeting with CIOs and other federal government IT leaders to discuss projects that appear to be over-budget or under-performing.

At a meeting last week of the Federal CIO Council, a group that includes all agency-level federal government CIOs, Kundra urged agency CIOs to put in place management changes to ensure that they use the data available via the IT Dashboard. To spur concrete action, Kundra will require agencies to provide detailed action plans for doing so. "The dashboard is just the beginning, not the end, of accountability," he said.

The IT Dashboard has received more than 20 million hits since launching three weeks ago, and will soon add features to enlist the public in the fight against wasteful or underperforming IT projects, including blog comments, the ability to communicate with the CIO's office through Facebook, and the use of tools that allow the public to evaluate and rank ideas for overhauling government IT.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on leading-edge government IT -- and how the technology involved may end up inside your business. Download the report here (registration required).

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