GAO pans OPM work on retirement system upgrade

The Office of Personnel Management's 7-year-old Retirement Systems Modernization is at risk of failing, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.

GAO found OPM's project team has yet to sufficiently develop management processes, jeopardizing the initiative's chances of meeting its cost and schedule milestones. 'It is also at risk of falling short of promised capabilities,' the GAO report said.

Between 1997 and 2001, OPM spent $12 million on planning and analyses. In 2002, Congress asked OPM to consult with GAO and in 2003 instituted quarterly meetings with auditors.

In the report, GAO recommended OPM take some immediate steps to right the project. Auditors said the agency should review its requirements to determine which should be mandatory and which should be optional. OPM also should develop a project management process for tracking cost, schedule and performance progress, GAO said.

OPM officials agreed with many of GAO's recommendations and said the project team already is taking steps to bolster its management processes. OPM has hired a project management consultant to improve its reporting and governance structures and its risk management.

To see the report, go to www.gcn.com and enter 378 in the GCN.com/box.

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