Administration releases software for IT Dashboard, TechStat

38 states and terrorities have expressed an interest in the software

The Obama administration has decided to publicly release the software code behind its IT Dashboard and TechStat process — and state governments already appear eager to use the tools.

Federal CIO Vivek Kundra announced on the White House blog March 31 that there are two reasons for the administration’s decision.

“First, to take the platform to the next level, we want to tap into the collective talents and ingenuity of the American people, to enhance functionality, improve the code and address existing challenges such as those identified by David Powner and his team" at the Government Accountability Office, Kundra wrote. “Second, CIOs from across the country and around the world such as Maarten Hillenaar of the Netherlands, Kyle Schafer in West Virginia  and Jason DeHaan of the city of Chicago are all interested in implementing these platforms in their respective organizations.”

Related stories:

GAO official calls for stronger IT spending oversight

Off-track IT investments face do-or-die reviews

Kundra’s reference to GAO relates to a report the agency released March 15 that said the IT Dashboard — a public website intended to improve transparency by tracking IT spending — has flawed data. Auditors concluded that the inaccuracies could be attributed to weaknesses in how federal agencies report data, such as erroneous submissions and limitations in the Office of Management and Budget’s calculations.

However, Kundra has praised the dashboard for shining a light on IT projects and fueling data for TechStat reviews, which reportedly have led to more than $3 billion in cost reductions.

The code for the IT Dashboard and OMB’s TechStat toolkit are now available in open-source format. The toolkit provides a comprehensive guide for organizations to establish their own TechStat reviews and was created for federal agencies as part of the Obama administration’s 25-point IT management reform plan.

A TechStat session is an evidence-based, face-to-face review of an IT program to ensure that it is on track and on time.

The National Association of State CIOs praised the administration's decision to release the software and said in a statement that 38 states and territories have already expressed an interest in evaluating the tools for their own use.

“A high priority and major challenge for state [CIOs] is monitoring the performance of IT investments,” said Kyle Schafer, NASCIO's president and West Virginia’s chief technology officer. “Because of current state budget issues, having access to open-source modules for these critical functions is very valuable."

About the Author

Alyah Khan is a staff writer covering IT policy.


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