IT project reviews have saved $4 billion since 2010, according to CIO

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Federal agencies have saved nearly $4 billion in the past year through TechStat reviews that resulted in scaling back or canceling information technology projects that are over budget or delayed, officials said Thursday.

The TechStat model, aimed at weeding out underperforming contracts, was launched by former federal chief information officer Vivek Kundra in 2010. Kundra credited those reviews -- essentially adapt-or-perish presentations by project managers of red-flag projects in front of agency IT leaders and Kundra himself -- with saving the government $3 billion.

Agencies began doing their own TechStat reviews on smaller programs in early 2011 and have saved another $930 million through nearly 300 sessions so far, according to a briefing by the federal CIO Steven VanRoekel.

One of those TechStats led to the termination of a troubled contract for the Interior Department's Point-of-Sale system, saving nearly $10 million, VanRoekel said.

The Veterans Affairs Departments has seen the greatest level of cost avoidance through agency-level TechStats at nearly $12 million, according to a Year in Review document also released Thursday.

VanRoekel's office plans to implement the TechStat model at the bureau and component level by June 2012, according to the review.

The document envisions implementing triggered TechStat reviews when a project first starts to miss deadline or cost projects, so it becomes less of a "triage effort...during crises" and more of an inspiration to improved performance.

VanRoekel touted TechStat savings during a federal technology conference, where he also announced approval of the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, or FedRAMP, aimed at easing the government's transition to cloud-based technology and storage.

VanRoekel also announced the official launch of the Shared First federal IT strategy, which he had outlined in a speech to industry IT leaders in Palo Alto, Calif., in October.

That plan requires agencies to identify two areas where they can shift to shared IT services by March 2012. VanRoekel's office plans to publish a Shared First strategy by May 2012, according to his presentation.