When the Veterans Affairs Department launched a program in 2009 to monitor the progress of its information technology projects, VA Chief Information Officer Roger Baker thought he had set the bar high.
Baker challenged the IT staff to deliver 80 percent of all VA IT project milestones on schedule. At the time, less than 30 percent of IT projects were delivered on schedule, according to VA estimates.
In less than two years, VA has exceeded Baker’s goal.
Last fiscal year, 89 percent of IT project milestones were delivered on time, the agency said. The agency delivered 212 of 237 project milestones on time, including a pharmacy application to enhance the detection of potential adverse drug interactions and changes to speed processing of Post 9/11 GI Bill education claims. VA’s Performance Management and Accountability System (PMAS) tracked a total of 101 IT projects in 2011.
“It’s a massive example of a culture change that has taken real effect,” Baker said. “We’re there, [and]we intend to stay there.”
Baker expects VA will stay in the 80 to 90 percent range in terms of delivering IT projects on time, but Baker also wants his team to take some risks as well.
Shortly after launching PMAS in 2009 VA halted 45 IT projects and it credits $200 million in cost avoidance to the tracking program. Fiscal 2011 was the first year managers had a daily view of every IT project through PMAS.