GAO decries how HUD buys software

GAO decries how HUD buys software

The General Accounting Office last week said Housing and Urban Development Department projects are at risk because of 'immature software acquisition capability.'

Gloria Parker, the department's CIO, responded that 'HUD agrees that an aggressive improvement plan is needed.'

Basing its criticism on the Capability Maturity Model of Carnegie Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute, GAO said HUD falls short in the areas of requirements development, project management, contract tracking and software evaluation.

Moving on up

The model evaluates repeatability of an organization's software processes on a scale of one to five. At the higher levels, software development becomes smoother and less error-prone.

Many federal agencies require contractors to attain at least CMM Level 3 before they can bid on software work.

GAO studied five HUD software projects and found that 'certain errors are systemic. HUD has no overall process for acquisition of software.'

The majority of the department's software teams did not plan their activities, the report said, and 'none of the teams measured the status of their activities.' Nor did most project managers require any progress reports.

Parker said that HUD will require CMM Level 2 for all new software acquisitions and will work to improve processes in existing projects.

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