GAO: E-gov projects need more collaboration

Project managers of four of the Quicksilver e-government initiatives must improve how they collaborate with their agency partners for their projects to be successful, the General Accounting Office said today.

Of the 25 Quicksilver projects, the audit agency examined the General Services Administration’s Integrated Acquisition Environment, the Interior Department’s Geospatial One-Stop, the Office of Personnel Management’s E-Payroll and the Small Business Administration’s Business Gateway.

Specifically, GAO looked at how the agencies had applied industry and academic best practices for cross-organizational collaboration. GAO surveyed project leaders to determine how they:

  • Established a collaborative management structure that provides shared leadership and involvement at all project levels


  • Maintained collaborative relationships among participants and received feedback and debate


  • Allocated resources among project partners


  • Facilitated communication and outreach


  • Adopted standards to share and integrate data or services among partners and outside organizations.


  • “In some cases, the practices were effectively used, whereas in other cases project managers did not take full advantage of them,” GAO said in its report, Potential Exists for Enhancing Collaboration on Four Initiatives. “Without effective collaboration on the tasks that remain to be completed, these initiatives may be at risk of not fully achieving their objectives or the broader goals of the President’s Management Agenda.”

    GAO, which did the study for Reps. Tom Davis (R-Va.) and Adam Putnam (R-Fla.), made specific recommendations for each project.

    Auditors suggested Interior establish formal agreements with partner agencies to clarify their relationships and develop a plan to reach more state and local organizations.

    For OPM’s E-Payroll project, GAO advised the agency to ensure a collaborative process is in place for development of governmentwide payroll standards.

    GSA should more fully integrate the chief financial officers of partner agencies into the decision-making process for its integrated acquisition effort, auditors said.

    SBA, GAO found, has the most work to do for the Business Gateway. Examiners directed the agency to establish a more collaborative management structure by defining roles and responsibilities, setting up formal agreements with partner agencies and developing a shared funding strategy.

    “All four initiatives have taken steps to promote collaboration with their partner agencies, but none has been fully effective in involving all important stakeholders,” GAO said.

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