OMB makes IT projects lists public

The Management Watch List

The Office of Management and Budget Thursday removed the veil surrounding agencies’ information technology projects that are on OMB’s Management Watch List and High Risk List.

Karen Evans, OMB’s administrator for the Office of Electronic Government and Information Technology, speaking Thursday at an Association For Federal Information Resources Management luncheon, announced the posting of the list, which had not been made public before.

“This really is our oversight responsibility,” Evans said.

The two lists are tools OMB uses to track particular projects. The Management Watch List consists of agencies’ investments summarized in business cases, or exhibit 300s. OMB adds projects to the list when they fail certain evaluation criteria.

Last year OMB had 263 investments on the watch list. There are now 86, Evans said.

The High Risk List deals with project execution. Projects on this list need special attention from the agency’s senior executives, Evans said. Managers can use the list to call leaders’ attention to their projects. Being on the list doesn't mean that the project is likely to fail, she said, only that it needs extra care.

She said projects related to the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 are high-risk projects, because they have many unknown factors. Cross-agency initiatives, such as the lines of business, are automatically placed on the list because of their complexity.

Congressional leaders are pleased with the move.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) "appreciates the OMB’s initiative in putting this information online,” said John Hart, Coburn's press secretary. “Transparency is a win-win for taxpayers and federal agencies.”

Coburn held a hearing Sept. 7 about the IT projects on the two lists and how OMB works to make them successful.

“It’s great news for all those interested in enhanced accountability and transparency,” said David Marin, staff director for the House Government Reform Committee.

Marin said committee chairman Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) welcomes OMB’s move — a move he has recommended for years, he added.

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