Following-up on the Government’s TechStat Accountability Sessions

With ever-increasing scrutiny on federal procurement dollars, and large agency-wide budget shortfalls hindering the ability to support both existing and new contract requirements, identifying methods to create more value with fewer resources is invaluable. By implementing an approach that contributes to cost savings and an overall improvement of performance, contract fiscal and administrative responsibilities become manageable.

The Federal Government procures approximately $75 billion annually, making it the largest single purchaser of IT in the world. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) launched TechStat Accountability Sessions (TechStat) in early 2010. According to, “a TechStat is a face-to-face, evidence-based accountability review of an IT investment; it enables the Federal Government to intervene to turn around, halt or terminate IT projects that are failing or are not producing results for the American people.”

In an effort to improve usability and customer service, as well as incorporate streamlined technologies for process improvement, the OMB created processes and procedures to assist federal agencies in implementing TechStat models. In IT projects specifically, the coordinated effort of maintaining accountability and fiscal stewardship is one of the most challenging endeavors in which a federal agency can partake. The success of that effort can single-handedly determine the sustainment of enterprise-wide IT systems and platforms.  

The CIO Council has provided additional guidance based on the outcomes of the TechStat implementation process. Outlined in A Year in Review: Outcomes and Lessons Learned from Implementing Agency-Led TechStat Reviews across the Federal Government; the utilization of TechStat has provided numerous benefits to federal agencies. In addition to cost implications and accelerated deliverables, significant changes have been made to the course of existing IT projects. Because TechStat reviews enable federal agencies to strategically attack IT issues and problems, and identify corrective actions, IT projects are experiencing a shift in productivity and performance outcomes. The structure of the TechStat model engages multiple stakeholders, creates a mechanism that supports existing oversight, and should be viewed as a function of the overall project life-cycle management and review process. 

There is still room for improvement. The CIO Council report lists 3 common causes of program failure which require attention in federal agencies. They include:

1.  Early CIO Involvement – Ensure CIO leaders are involved prior to program initiation

2.  Effective Acquisition Processes – Review contracting requirements to be sure that performance metrics and other principles of TechStat are incorporated

3.  Skilled Workforce – Attract and retain the qualified personnel needed to overcome the challenges of managing IT projects.

Despite these areas for continued improvement, TechStat has proven to be tremendously useful in creating efficiencies through better governance of IT investments. 

Contact us to continue the discussion on IT governance.







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