HUD concurs with GAO criticism of software acquisitions

HUD concurs with GAO criticism of software acquisitions

The General Accounting Office today said 'immature software acquisition capability' is putting Housing and Urban Development Department projects at risk.

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 requirements development, project management, contract tracking and software evaluation.

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: the Central Accounting and Program System, the Empowerment Information System, the Public and Indian Housing Information Center, the Real Estate Management System and the Resident Assessment Subsystem.

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

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