The new CIO of the US Department of Homeland Security, Richard Spires, told NextGov in an interview last week that he is personally reviewing 79 large DHS IT programs. According to the current US Government IT dashboard, CIO Spires has initially rated 11 of the 79 as being "red" or have significant concerns, 26 as being yellow, meaning they need attention, and 42 as being "green" or normal.
CIO Spires was quoted as saying, "We'll assess the program, and if it's fatally flawed, we'll stop the program. We're not going to continue to spend money for no benefit. [But] we haven't seen that yet."
So far, CIO Spires has reviewed some dozen programs, and implies that the risks on those programs need to be better managed. He is also looking for systemic risks in managing or initiating DHS IT programs. He said that, "As we see issues and risks, I'm pushing that we address risks. We're doing that, and we're documenting those, and helping these programs improve on a tactical basis. But I also want to use that as a mechanism to discern where we have systemic weaknesses in managing programs."
Previously, CIO Spires was the CIO of the US Internal Review Service from 2007 through 2008.
Maybe this is the beginning of a trend. As we noted here, the CIO of the US Veterans Affairs Roger Baker earlier this year undertook a review of 45 IT projects there that were in trouble, then canceled 15 of them, and placed the rest on notice that they faced cancellation too if they didn't meet their commitments.
My oh my, holding government IT projects accountable: what a concept!
Robert N. Charette is a Contributing Editor to IEEE Spectrum and an acknowledged international authority on information technology and systems risk management. A self-described “risk ecologist,” he is interested in the intersections of business, political, technological, and societal risks. Charette is an award-winning author of multiple books and numerous articles on the subjects of risk management, project and program management, innovation, and entrepreneurship. A Life Senior Member of the IEEE, Charette was a recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Golden Core Award in 2008.