The new CIO at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Roger Baker, is wasting no time in putting troubled VA IT systems on notice. Baker announced today that it will “temporarily halt 45 information technology projects which are either behind schedule or over budget.”
WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today that it will temporarily halt 45 information technology projects which are either behind schedule or over budget. These projects will be reviewed, and it will be determined whether these projects should be continued.
“Leveraging the power of Information Technology to accelerate and modernize the delivery of benefits and services to our nations Veterans is essential to transforming VA to a 21st century organization that is people-centric, results-driven and forward thinking,” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said.
Secretary Shinseki ordered a review of the department’s 300 IT projects and implementation of the PMAS, designed to increase the department’s accountability for IT projects.
Each of the 45 projects will be temporarily halted. No further development will occur and expenditures will be minimized. A new project plan that meets the requirements of Program Management Accountability System (PMAS) must be created by the project manager and approved by VA’s Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology before resuming.
“VA has a responsibility to the American people, who are investing millions of dollars in technology projects, to deliver quality results that adhere to a budget and are delivered on time.” Shinseki said. “They need to have confidence that the dollars they are spending are being effectively used to improve the lives of our Veterans.”
PMAS is a management protocol that requires projects to establish milestones to deliver new functionality to its customers. Failure to meet set deadlines indicates a problem within the project. Under PMAS, a third missed customer delivery milestone is cause for the project to be halted and re-planned.
“Our goal is to increase our success rate for our systems development projects,” Roger W. Baker, VA’s Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology, said. “We will use every tool at our disposal to bring about greater accountability and ensure that taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely. 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.”
PMAS, in conjunction with the analytical tools available through the IT Dashboard, will ensure early identification and correction of problematic IT projects. The IT Dashboard, launched last month, is a one-stop clearinghouse of information, allowing the American people to track federal information technology initiatives and hold the government accountable for progress and results.
Over the next year, all IT projects at VA will be required to move to PMAS.
The Obama Administration has made management reform a key government-wide priority. From IT accountability to personnel and contracting reforms, the administration is committed to providing better value, efficiency, and effectiveness for taxpayers’ dollars.
Below is a complete list of all projects temporarily halted under PMAS at this time:
Laboratory System Reeingeering Project (LSRP)
Pharmacy Re-Engineering Pre .5
Health Data Repository (HDR) II
Pharmacy Re-Engineering Pre1.0
HeVet Middleware Services
Person Service Identity Management
Administrative Data Repository (ADR)
Document & Ancillary Imaging
Clinical Data Service
VA Learning Management
Home Telehealth (HT) Development
Occupational Health Record Keeping System (OHRS)
Enrollment System Redesign (ESR) v4
CHDR – Chemistry & Hematology: ADC Automation
Clinical Flow Sheet – CLIO
Enrollment System Redesign (ESR) v3.1
Health Data Repository (HDR) Data Warehouse
Home Telehealth (HT) Infrastructure Enhancements
Radiology Outside Reporting
BCMA Inpatient Medication Request for SFG IRA
Blood Bank – VBECS v1.0
VIC (Veterans Identification Card) Development
Spinal Cord Injury & Disorders Outcomes v3.0
Radiology HL7 Interface Update
Ward Drug Dispensing Equipment (WDDE) Interface
Lab Data Sharing & Interoperability (LDSI) – Anatomic Pathology/Microbiology
Today, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), under the leadership of Secretary Shinseki and VA CIO Roger Baker, announced that it will temporarily halt 45 IT projects which are either behind schedule or over budget and work to determine whether these programs should be continued. We’re not talking about a trivial sum here—the Fiscal Year 2009 combined budget for the 45 projects is approximately $200 million. The worst offender of the bunch was 110% over budget and 17 months behind schedule.
We were able to catch these contracts, in part, thanks to our new tool, the “IT Dashboard” which helped shed light on the performance of projects across the federal government.
During the next few weeks, the VA will audit these 45 projects to determine whether additional resources or new management teams can get them back on schedule. If they can’t be fixed, the projects will be canceled.
If you are just hearing about the IT Dashboard for the first time, it allows you to see which IT projects are working and on-schedule (and which are not), offer alternative approaches, and provide direct feedback to the chief information officers at federal agencies.
Given the size and complexity of the federal IT portfolio, the challenges we face are substantial and persistent. The dashboard is not a substitute for good management. Its value comes from leaders who use the information to make tough, evidence-based decisions on the future of IT investments.
The VA’s announcement is part of a broader effort by the Administration to make the federal government more transparent and to boost accountability and drive better performance. From IT accountability to personnel and contracting reforms, the administration is committed to providing better value, efficiency, and effectiveness for taxpayers’ dollars.