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OMB Wants $60 Million to Expand TechStat Sessions

Hourlong meetings attempt to identify and diagnose troubled federal IT projects, and set a path for corrective action.

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has requested a $60 million budget for its TechStat Accountability Sessions in fiscal 2012. The sessions, conducted since January 2010, allow OMB to examine IT projects that are having challenges and come up with solutions.

Federal CIO Vivek Kundra has said more TechStat sessions can take place with the funding, which would also help support the White House strategy to move federal computing to cloud-based IT operations. If the $60 million budget is approved, the funds would be available until September 2014.

Kundra, at a House subcommittee meeting last week, explained that 58 of the TechStat sessions were held through December 2010 and have helped save approximately $3 billion in IT expenses. The cost was not necessarily the sessions themselves, but the follow-up work to make sure the solutions are being implemented, said Kundra.

The sessions were purposefully designed to run for only 60 minutes, where senior executives and decision-makers give an overview of the project and the challenges. The last half of the session is devoted to coming up with solutions. Attendees create a list of corrective measures to implement and report back on.

Prior to the session, OMB and agency staff members review Inspector General reports; interview CIOs, their deputies and end-users of the system that's being deployed; talk with staff at the General Accountability Office; and study feedback that citizens have posted about the project on the Federal IT Dashboard.

Officials from both the White House and the agency deploying the IT project attend the TechStat session. Agency participants might include policy officials, the CIO, staff from the department secretary's office, and staff who work on the project's business and IT aspects.


Miriam Jones is a former chief copy editor of Government Technology, Governing, Public CIO and Emergency Management magazines.