Original Post Date: Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It seems that, even in the midst of billions of dollars of bailout funds, the federal government is taking accountability a little more seriously.  Politics aside, the government is making the effort to ensure that every dollar spent is an investment rather than waste.  As we all know, industry follows the lead of government. 

We see this effort for accountability in a recently introduced Senate resolution (that will be re-introduced in the next Senate), S. 3384. The Information Technology Investment Oversight Enhancement and Waste Prevention Act of 2008 was sponsored by Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware. The act was a result of IT cost-overuns in the Federal government.

The Act requires that Federal CIOs provide Congress a business case/baseline estimates for IT Investment Projects as well as performance reports.  Gross deviations must be reported to Congress along with a remediation plan. All estimates must be independent.

So the implied task for Federal CIOs is to develop a framework for creating independent cost-estimates and conducting gap analysis between baseline estimates and actual cost.  Knowledge of the framework will be a pre-requisite for project managers and planners.  Eventually, these practices will trickle down to the private sector.  Parametric cost estimating based on industry data may provide a foundation for such a framework.  Ultimately, parametric cost-estimating can be the key to IT accountability!