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What is the Federal CIO’s Tech Stat?

TechStat is an initiative of the Federal CIO designed to enhance IT program and project review and governance.   Here is more information from the CIO.gov website:

The Challenge

The Federal government invests approximately $80 billion per year in information technology (IT). Yet far too often, these investments fail to deliver on their plans without adequate intervention or warning, resulting in billions of wasted taxpayer dollars. We must change the way Washington works when it comes to IT.

The Solution

On June 30, 2009, the Federal Chief Information Officer (CIO) launched the IT Dashboard, which allows the American people to monitor IT investments across the Federal government. If a program is over budget or behind schedule, the IT Dashboard tells you that, and by how much. The IT Dashboard also provides contact information for the person responsible, the agency CIO, and allows the public to provide feedback.

However, it is not enough to simply shine a light on IT programs and hope results follow. As the President said in his inaugural speech “those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account, to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day, because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.” Following the President’s lead, on January 13, 2010 the Federal CIO held the first TechStat Accountability Session (or more simply, TechStat). A TechStat is a face-to-face, evidence-based review of an IT program, undertaken with OMB and agency leadership, powered by the IT Dashboard and input from the American people. In each TechStat session, the team works together to carefully examine program data, with a focus on problem solving that will lead to concrete action to improve overall performance.

However, in some cases, a TechStat may reveal that the best course of action for an investment is to temporarily be halted or even terminated. Finding these potentially failing programs sooner promotes greater accountability, saves the taxpayers money, and can free resources to work on efforts that are yielding better results.

Given the size and complexity of the multi-billion dollar Federal IT Portfolio, we must relentlessly focus on the health of IT investments across the entire government. As the IT Dashboard continues to provide unprecedented insight into Federal IT investment performance, TechStat sessions will allow us to take action and turn around troubled programs. The IT Dashboard brought transparency, now TechStat brings accountability by allowing Federal managers to confront challenges together, make bold adjustments, and make program success a reality. These two tools working in conjunction with each other are critical to ensuring that the Federal government makes good on its promise to deliver better value and results for the American people.

TechStat is a process and methodology for formal reviews. It is a way to dive deep into programs and their needed functionality and of course program cost, schedule and performance.