A third of DHS major IT development projects over schedule or budget, or both
About a third of major information technology programs under development at the Homeland Security Department are more than 10 percent over budget or schedule, says the Government Accountability Office.
In a report (.pdf) dated Sept. 26, auditors say that DHS has 363 ongoing IT investments during the fiscal year on which DHS spends an estimated $5.6 billion. Eighty-three of those projects are "major," meaning they're important either in sheer size or through their intended (positive) impact on DHS operations.
Sixty-eight are under development, and during the current fiscal year, DHS intends to spend about $4 billion on them, the GAO says. Twenty-one of those, collectivley worth about $1 billion, have busted their cost or schedule.
More often than not, DHS program managers find it harder to keep within the schedule than within cost, according to data compiled by GAO.
In an analysis of primary causes, auditors also concluded that the most frequent reason for cost and schedule variation is inaccurate estimates made at the start of projects. That accounts for eight of the projects. The second most frequent cause is technical issues, which accounts for six of the total. Changes in agency priorities accounts for another four. Perhaps surprisingly, lack of understanding of use requirements is a primary reason for cost and schedule variance with only three DHS IT projects.
Program managers for only 12 of the 21 projects have well-developed corrective efforts, auditors also say.
- download the report, GAO-12-904 (.pdf)
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