TSP's new system gets to testing phase

The new, much-maligned Thrift Savings Plan computer system will go into user-acceptance testing by March and parallel testing with the current system by April, project manager Larry Stiffler told the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board yesterday.

In his monthly update to the board, Stiffler said project workers will load all data from employee accounts into the new system by the end of February and then begin user acceptance testing throughout March.

Once the system proves it can handle the volume of information, Stiffler said workers will conduct parallel testing until project leaders are satisfied the system is ready to be implemented.

The board stopped parallel testing last October after the system failed to handle the volume of transactions fast enough. The system has been plagued by problems since its inception, more than five years ago. The board originally said the system would be operational by September after years of fits and starts, which included firing the initial contractor (see GCN coverage by clicking here).

The board also approved Stiffler's request for $994,000 to pay for continued contractor support through parallel testing and subsequent implementation.

'We didn't want to have to scrimp at the end on contractor assistance after we've gone this far,' Stiffler said. 'We had budgeted 75 percent of the contractor's manpower for this phase, but we would be more confident if we had the full array of help.'

Since January, project workers also have solved a data conversion problem and prepared about 80 percent of all the electronic forms the system will generate, Stiffler said.

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