A government watchdog on Monday identified nine best practices that help information technology projects stay on budget and on time, including sufficient upfront funding, strong communication between the contractors building the system and the federal employees who will operate it, and genuine involvement from senior agency leaders.
Keeping the same set of agency officials and contractors on a project throughout its lifecycle and involving agency end users in testing early on also are important factors according to Monday’s report from the Government Accountability Office.
The best practices were developed from interviews with IT staff on seven major projects that agency officials identified as models of good management and delivery. The projects included three behemoths:
– A $2 billion Customs and Border Protection effort to ramp up technology at U.S. border crossings, including through radio technology that can read passport information from 15 feet away and cross reference it with criminal and terrorist databases
– A $1.3 billion endeavor to modernize the Internal Revenue Service’s 40-year-old tax management system
– A $1.1 billion project to integrate information from paper Census Bureau questionnaires, reports from help desk phone calls with citizens filling out the questionnaires and follow-up telephone interviews to gauge the paper forms’ accuracy
via NextGov, continued here.