Treasury's IT management said to need work

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GAO Report

The Treasury Department should implement a more comprehensive project management approach to ensure its information technology investments are properly managed, according to government auditors.

The Government Accountability Office found that Treasury was not fully implementing Earned Value Management. GAO, in a report released Sept. 22, said the department lacked a comprehensive strategy for the EVM approach that's designed to produce early warning signs of pending delays and cost overruns.

Treasury had four projects on the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Management Watch List as of July, and, according to the GAO report, planned to spend $3 billion on information technology investments during fiscal 2008.

OMB issued a memo in 2005 that required agencies to use EVM, which compares budgeted costs to actual costs and measures the value of work accomplished in a given period.

GAO said that although six Treasury programs reviewed were using EVM, none had fully implemented practices to establish a comprehensive EVM system. None had ensured data that resulted from the system was reliable or had used earned value data to make decisions.

The GAO's auditors said the gaps in implementation were due in part to policy weaknesses and the “low level of oversight provided by the department.” According to the report, Treasury’s policy is not fully consistent with EVM's best practices.

“Unless the department consistently implements fundamental EVM practices, it may not be able to effectively manage its critical programs," the report said.

GAO recommended that Treasury define a comprehensive EVM strategy consistent with best practices and establish a process for ensuring effective EVM implementation.

Treasury agreed with the report's  findings and recommendations and is in the process of revising its EVM policy. Officials plan to release that policy by October.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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