White House Releases IT Dashboard Code for Fixes

The White House is releasing the software code for a website it uses to track the performance of big computing projects, as a way to fix program glitches and share the tool with other government bodies, according to the federal chief information officer.

The so-called IT Dashboard monitors the budget, schedule and functionality of systems under development that cost the federal government about $80 billion annually. But critics and federal auditors say ratings on the site do not always accurately represent the current status of projects.

Still, federal CIO Vivek Kundra says the dashboard has helped reduce IT costs by more than $3 billion and he wants "to tap into the collective talents and ingenuity of the American people, to enhance functionality, improve the code and address existing challenges," according to a post on the White House blog. "Software developers will be able to collaborate, identify errors, develop enhancements and recommend improvements to the dashboard, and find new uses for it that we have not even imagined."

CIOs throughout the nation and the world, such as Maarten Hillenaar of the Netherlands, Kyle Schafer in West Virginia and Jason DeHaan in the City of Chicago, are interested in deploying the accountability software in their respective governments, he writes.

The code underpinning the dashboard is freely available, through a format referred to as open source.

In addition, the Obama administration is publishing instructions on how to conduct "TechStat" sessions, which are in-person meetings Kundra typically holds with agency CIOs to decide what to do with systems at risk of failing.

He writes, "The TechStat toolkit provides a comprehensive guide for organizations to establish their own TechStats to improve line-of-sight between project teams and senior executives, increase the precision of ongoing measurement of IT program health, and boost the quality and timing of interventions to keep projects on track."