VA says it has new system to prevent IT mismanagement

New program management accountability system is in place, department says

The Veterans Affairs Department has set up a new oversight system to deal with problems cited by its inspector general about systemic mismanagement of major information technology projects, the department said today.

“VA has put in place its new Program Management Accountability System to ensure that the resources required to deliver IT products are managed to ensure that progress is demonstrated and non-performing projects are identified and quickly stopped,” the VA said in a statement.

The VA issued the statement in response to an Aug. 26 report from the department’s inspector general's office that blamed ongoing mismanagement of large IT projects for the failure of the department's Replacement Scheduling Applications development program.

The department stopped that project in March after spending more than $120 million without producing effective software. The IG blamed inadequate requirements planning and procurement oversight along with other problems.

The new oversight system “will ensure proper stewardship of taxpayer dollars while enabling us to deliver customer products to improve the delivery of service and benefits to the veteran,” the department said.

“Leveraging the power of information technology to accelerate and modernize the delivery of benefits and services to our nation’s veterans is essential to transforming VA to a 21st century organization that is people-centric, results-driven and forward-thinking,” the VA said.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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Reader Comments

Wed, Sep 9, 2009

Being a current VA employee, I know first hand the problems within the VA system. Unfortunately, the IT section is only a tip of the iceberg. The problems seen by IG in this division are inherent throughout all divisions of the VA. There will not be any change within the VA until there is a change in the overall management in place. The current problems are merely a shadow of the problems which are running rampant throughout the VA systems.

Wed, Sep 9, 2009

Having worked in VA IT, it is rife with incompetent uneducated and undereducated hacks with at best a HS diploma from a very bad high school. It cannot be fixed because the culture of VA IT is mediocrity to the extreme.

Tue, Sep 8, 2009

The problems are worse than you can even imagine. The biggest problem is that the people in charge right under the new CIO, Roger Baker, all came from VHA (Veterans Health Administration) and only know how to run a VA Medical Center. While those are important, these people are convinced that you can run the entire VA just like a Medical Center! Of course, you can't and they haven't even done a great job of running IT at the Medical Centers, but they're in charge and are moving forward. They're even planning to run the VA Headquarters (known internally as VACO) like a Medical Center and make it part of IT Field Operations. If they don't understand that VACO (VA Central Office) isn't part of the field but headquarters for the entire department, what hope do you really have for them being able to run anything else?

Tue, Sep 8, 2009

Wish I could provide some favorable insight, but as an Gov't IT worker, it is quite apparent that nothing will change with the current bureaucratic environment of the VA unless all current FCIOs are replaced with external IT professionals. There is a plethora of unemployed members that could severely shake up the culture and provide meaningful solutions if only the Union and embedded HR mafia were shown the door as well. As a result, many bright young veterans are not even provided the chance to get their foot in the door. The whole situation is quite appalling and gravely dissappointing.

Tue, Sep 8, 2009

After as many "gaffs" as the VA has been involved in with my IT (and many other Vet's) data, you would think they would realize they are under a microscope when it comes to the VA's IT systems. Perhaps some training on what happens to people who mis-spend the taxpayer's money would be in order ? Or maybe a stand-down on all spending ?

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