Letter to the editor

Your story "What's up with Seat?" [Federal Computer Week, July 24, 2000] gives the wrong impression that the HUD Office of Inspector General is somehow having problems with its implementation of seat management.

The story uses sensational quotes — taken out of context — from a wide-ranging interview that took place about three months ago to paint an incorrect picture of our experience as well as our relationship with our contractor, DynCorp.

More regrettable, the story fails to understand the enormity of the task that the HUD OIG has taken on — seat management being a large part of that task, but only part.

In the space of 24 months, the HUD OIG has gone from a standing start and "Jurassic technology" to its own secure system and support structure, featuring the zenith of auditing and investigative software that will set a new standard for the inspector general community. Three steps have been required to implement:

    * Site preparation (accomplished by Signal Corp. with the General Services Administration).

    * Seat management (being accomplished by DynCorp).

    * A new auditing and investigative software (being accomplished by Paisley Consulting).

In the story, HUD OIG is portrayed as not having addressed requirements until November 1999 and not being involved with the design of the system that DynCorp is implementing. In fact, three months were devoted to gathering requirements so that we could choose functional specifications in the seat management task order based on our business rather than trying to dictate equipment specifications based on the latest technology.

The reason implementation was suspended in October 1999 was that it had become apparent that our schedule was overly aggressive in assuming that the three parts to our implementation could occur simultaneously.

During this brief implementation hiatus 10 months ago, HUD OIG had the time to reassess our aggressive implementation schedule. Senior managers from HUD OIG and DynCorp were actively involved in this process, and a successful strategy was developed. Also during this period, HUD OIG was able to complete the staffing of our new information technology organization.

The new approach added additional time for testing and communication with our employees. HUD OIG staff had a natural skepticism — as you would expect from auditors and investigators — about the prospects for a successful implementation of a new system featuring radical new auditing/investigative software. Essential for us was making sure that everything worked the first time and that we had built confidence internally.

DynCorp has been a dynamic and creative partner in this process, and together, we are listening to our users' needs and developing solutions.

As proof of our success, just this month, DynCorp has begun to roll out seat management. Implementation is complete for the entire district of New York and New Jersey — one of our largest — with little disruption of daily activities and a seamless changeover to the new system.

The HUD OIG would welcome the opportunity to lay out the true dimension of this undertaking and write more completely about our experiences. I think it would be instructive to federal managers.

William Stine

Director, OIG Information Systems

Office of the Inspector General

Department of Housing and Urban Development


We welcome your comments.

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Letters may be edited for clarity and for space constraints in the printversion of FCW.

August 01, 2000

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