Despite ratings slips, OMB calls PMA scorecard requirements ‘very reasonable’

Although several agencies saw their grades fall on the e-government portion of the most recent President’s Management Agenda scorecard, Office of Management and Budget officials do not believe they have set the bar too high for agencies to earn and maintain high marks.

Karen Evans, OMB’s administrator for e-government and IT, said the milestones and requirements to achieve the coveted “green” scorecard rating—the highest score—are sufficient and resulted from negotiations with the top brass at all federal agencies.

“We finalized [the milestones] with the agencies in September,” Evans said today in Washington at the Program Management Summit. If agencies “think there [are] too many milestones—they agreed to them. … We did try to be very reasonable.”

The latest PMA scorecard, released Wednesday, saw six agencies lose their green status related to compliance with OMB’s e-government initiative.

Evans said the ratings slip is reflective of where agencies are in terms of implementing e-government plans across the board. “There are a lot of milestones” agencies need to meet so they receive high marks, she said. But the system is “as fair as it could be,” she added.

Meanwhile, OMB is still going over data agencies submitted on high-risk IT projects as part of the administration’s effort to encourage agencies to adopt earned-value management, she said.

Agencies submitted cost, budget and schedule data on their high-risk IT projects to OMB in September, and Evans said after her speech that OMB has been going over the information and the results will be reflected in a future PMA scorecard.

Although she could not reveal what OMB has discovered thus far, she did say that, generally, the results have been interesting. “We have seen several major projects that have come in with these reports with no [cost or schedule] variance,” she said. This “raises a red flag.

“We don’t live in a perfect world,” she continued. If a project shows no variance from its schedule, “that means everything was perfect,” she said. “You know that just doesn’t happen.”

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