Report Summary

Title: Follow-up Audit of the Information Technology Project Management Accountability System
Report Number: 13-03324-85 Download
Issue Date: 1/22/2015
VA Office: Office of Information and Technology (OIT)
Report Author: Office of Audits and Evaluations
Report Type: Audit
Release Type: Unrestricted

In June 2009, VA launched the Project Management Accountability System (PMAS). This follow-up audit assessed whether the Office of Information and Technology (OI&T) took effective actions to address recommendations we made to strengthen PMAS in two prior audit reports. OI&T has taken steps to improve PMAS. Although steps were taken to improve PMAS, more than 5 years after its launch, it still has not fully infused PMAS with the discipline and accountability necessary for effective oversight of IT development projects. Two OI&T offices did not adequately perform planning and compliance reviews. The PMAS Business Office (PBO) still had Federal employee vacancies and the PMAS Dashboard lacked a complete audit trail of baseline data. Project managers continued to struggle with capturing increment costs and project teams were not reporting costs related to enhancements on the PMAS Dashboard. These conditions occurred because OI&T did not provide adequate oversight to ensure our prior recommendations were sufficiently addressed and that controls were operating as intended. OI&T also did not adequately define enhancements in the PMAS Guide. As a result, VA’s portfolio of IT development projects was potentially being managed at an unnecessarily high risk. We also identified approximately $6.4 million in cost savings OI&T could achieve by hiring Federal employees to replace contract employees currently augmenting PBO staff. We recommended the Executive in Charge ensure compliance and planning reviews are performed, replace PBO contract workers with Federal employees, modify the PMAS Dashboard so that it retains a complete audit trail of baseline data, establish stronger cost reporting controls, and ensure OI&T reports enhancement costs on the dashboard. The Executive in Charge concurred with all but one of our recommendations and provided acceptable planned corrective actions. OI&T non-concurred with Recommendation 4, stating that contractors are needed due to increases in workload. OIG’s audit evidence provides a sufficient and reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions. Thus, where OI&T disagreed, we will continue our scrutiny and reporting and we will follow up on OI&T’s implementation of corrective actions. The Executive in Charge also provided technical comments, which were considered, but not included in this report. We continue to retain our position that it would be more economical to perform the PMAS Business Office workload by replacing contract employees with Government employees.