California Government IT Woes Continue to Mount

There was an article in the LA Times a week ago concerning the on-going problems with IT projects in the state of California. The article talks about several projects such as the Financial Information System for California (FI$CAL), which is $300 million over budget and three years behind schedule; a centralized computer system for California's courts which is $1.04 billion over budget (yes, billion), and is at least 4 years late;  and the California Child Support Automation System (CCSAS), which has cost $1.5 billion so far to implement, but performs abysmally.

In June, California's CIO launched an IT dashboard project like that of the Federal government to track its projects. The claim was that the dashboard would bring transparency (and hopefully some accountability) to the progress of the state's IT projects.

However, if you look at the project status of the FI$CAL on the dashboard, it shows "green."

But when you drill down a bit more, you find a more detailed status report that says that the most recent milestone was missed, and the reason was because of efforts to re-plan the project, to wit, "developing ... revised milestones and the project roadmap for moving forward."

I guess a "green" project status means something different in California than in the rest of the world.

No wonder the state is in trouble financially.

So far, California seems ahead of Texas and Virginia in the race to the bottom for the most ineffective and risk mismanaged US state government IT projects.


Risk Factor

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Robert Charette
Spotsylvania, Va.
Willie D. Jones
New York City