February 10, 2010
The Department of Veterans Affairs has taken the lead of the White House by releasing an IT dashboard of its own, a Web site that gives the public insight into cost, schedule and performance of projects that are part of the agency's $3.4 billion annual IT budget.
The dashboard, which agency CIO Roger Baker has been planning since soon after the Office of Management and Budget launched its IT Dashboard last year, includes yellow, green, orange, and red ratings in nine different categories for 76 different IT projects. A green rating signifies a project is on track in a category, a yellow that the project is behind, and red that a project is failing. Orange signifies that a category is not reported. The categories include an overall rating, whether a project is meeting requirements, whether a project is on schedule and keeping in line with costs, whether requirements and business process documents have been signed, and whether the acquisition plan is going smoothly. The dashboard also notes the status of a project under the VA's Program Management Accountability System, or PMAS, which CIO Roger Baker instituted to pause and reset failing projects. The VA has canceled more than a dozen failing projects and paused 45 since instituting PMAS last year. Overall, the dashboard dives into more projects than does the federal IT Dashboard, and it goes deeper. In addition to the extra metrics, it also discloses whether a project is being executed in-house or by a contractor, and it identifies the contractor. From the initial data posted online, the VA is in the green most frequently in regard to meeting a project's schedule, and in the red most frequently in terms of whether both the requirements and business process documents have been signed for a project. A number of projects are entirely in the green, such as the VA Wide e-Travel Solution, the Embedded Fragment and Eye Vision Injury Registries, and the Master Patient Index. A few are also in the red in more than two categories, including the VistA Imaging Core, the Deployment Toolkit, and the Integrated Financial Accounting System. Today, all the data on the site is posted in two PDF documents. However, the VA is planning to "enhance and expand" the data's look and feel in the next few weeks.
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