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GAO: Agencies need to Improve Certification of Incremental Development


Investments in federal IT too often result in failed projects that incur cost overruns and schedule slippages. Recognizing the severity of issues related to government-wide IT management, Congress enacted federal IT acquisition reform legislation in December 2014. Among other things, the law states that OMB require in its annual IT capital planning guidance that CIOs certify that IT investments are adequately implementing incremental development.

GAO was asked to review agencies’ use of incremental development. This report addresses the number of investments certified by agency CIOs as implementing adequate incremental development and any reported challenges, and whether agencies’ CIO certification policies and processes were in accordance with FITARA. GAO analyzed data for major IT investments in development, as reported by 24 agencies, and identified their reported challenges and use of certification information. GAO also reviewed the 24 agencies’ policies and processes for the CIO certification of incremental development and interviewed OMB staff.
What GAO Recommends

GAO is making 19 recommendations to 17 agencies, including 3 to improve reporting accuracy and 16 to update or establish certification policies. Eleven agencies agreed with GAO’s recommendations, 1 partially agreed, and 5 did not state whether they agreed or disagreed. OMB disagreed with several of GAO’s conclusions, which GAO continues to believe are valid, as discussed in the report


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