Federal CIO pursues relentless efficiency via TechStat meetings

Vivek Kundra says the administration intends to leverage the power of technology to make the government run more efficiently

Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra today said he has started new accountability sessions with department officials to assess their information technology projects.

In these sessions, called TechStat meetings, Kundra intends to delve deep into departments’ IT projects to check on whether the projects are working as planned. He said he and other officials have already met with the Environmental Protection Agency’s CIO and other agency officials about an IT project that is $30 million over its budget and a year behind schedule. After the discussion, Kundra sent the EPA a detailed memo on what he wants the agency to do to get the project on course again, he said, adding that he expects to see the agency start working immediately.

Kundra said he intends to make the TechStat meetings “a very relentless pursuit of oversight.” He said he could possibly halt or terminate a project or even revise the plans for the project as a result of the meetings.

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These meetings are “data-driven, action-focused and results-oriented,” he said.

This is just the first of many meetings Kundra expects to hold with departments across the government. He said he plans to hold a minimum of three to four meetings a week with different agencies and expects that number to increase. Kundra said he’s also telling agency officials to hold similar TechStat meetings in their own departments.

The TechStat meetings are open to any CIO who may want to attend, Kundra said. He’s trying to connect agency officials so they can help each other as they go through some of the same rough patches with their investments, he said.

Emphasizing the transparency of government, Kundra said he will make his memos to agencies on their IT projects available to the public.

President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget proposal requests $20 million for the TechStat sessions.

In the overall budget, Kundra pointed out four themes in the technology agenda:

  • Managing IT investments effectively.
  • Leveraging technology and its power to create efficiencies for government.
  • Improving information security, such as identity management.
  • Increasing the openness of the government and participation with the public.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.


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