Agencies resist changes to Exhibit 300s
Officials rely on business case data
- By David Perera
- Mar 14, 2005
Office of Management and Budget officials are considering both large and small changes to the Exhibit 300, a form agency officials use to make business cases for major information technology investments.
OMB officials will examine possible revisions to Circular A-11, including Section 300, which governs how agency business cases are judged, said Karen Evans, OMB’s administrator for e-government and IT. “That’s under review right now,” she said.
Many agency officials have begun working on their latest business cases, which they must submit to OMB by September for inclusion in the fiscal 2007 budget. OMB officials encountered resistance from agency officials last year when they tried to introduce significant changes to the Exhibit 300.
Chief information officers “appreciate the 300 process now, and they don’t want to radically change it because they’re using it for management,” said a federal IT official close to the situation who asked not to be named.
Agency CIOs rejected a variety of proposed revisions last year, including one that would have simplified the business cases and another that would have required them to collect additional information on enterprise architectures.
As a result, only minor alterations will appear in the revised Exhibit 300 guidance this year, the IT official said, adding that “one or two data elements will be strengthened, but it’ll primarily be the same.”
“The agencies use it so much, and so much progress has been made that the decision was a no-brainer this year — just leave it alone,” the official added.
But an OMB official who declined to be identified said no options have been eliminated. OMB officials did not release their final revision of Circular A-11 last year until mid-July.
The agencies’ rebuff last year was an example of the CIO Council’s processes working as intended, Evans said. “We give them draft documents,…they make recommendations, and I make the final decision.”
Mark Forman, Evans’ predecessor, approved the support of current agency business case processes. Agency executives’ initial resistance to submitting business cases to OMB has turned into reliance on Exhibit 300’s documentation, Forman said. “They wanted OMB to provide cover for getting to this data,” he said.
David Perera is a special contributor to Defense Systems.