ITARB set the stage

An early cross-agency effort at improving information technology management resulted in the creation of the IT Acquisition Review Board (ITARB).

The board was originally formed to look at procurement reform but eventually evolved to conduct reviews in which IT managers from different agencies are brought in to assess the progress of major programs.

Even before the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996, ITARB members were making innovative suggestions about IT management — some of which were incorporated into the law, said Mary Ellen Condon, a former official at the Justice and Agriculture departments and now a vice president

at SRA International Inc.

ITARB provides an invaluable service to agencies while keeping a low profile, Condon said. The group responds to requests from chief information officers and others looking for a fresh perspective on their IT programs. The results of the program critiques are not for attribution, so the advice is honest and straightforward, she said.

The group is made up of a cross-section of government professionals, including CIOs, project managers and subject area specialists. Members

recognized early on that projects are really business-focused, Condon said.

"It's a learning organization," she said. "The group recognizes the change in trends and emphases because they are experiencing it themselves. Their credibility is that these people live

what they're talking about. They're not [speaking] from an oversight" perspective.

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