Will the OMB, Feds finally get IT procurement right?

The White House is expected to overhaul the way the federal government buys IT. The plan: Break projects down to smaller chunks.

Updated: The White House has overhauled the way the federal government buys IT.

In a blog post, the Office of Management and Budget said the plan is to:

  • Align budgets with the technology cycle. Congress hands out dollars in big chunks. That's how kitchen sink projects get going.
  • Project management needs to improve. The OMB will only approve projects with good management teams.
  • Increase accountability and review projects.
  • Improve communications with the IT industry.
  • Adopt lightweight technologies. The OMB is thinking cloud first. For instance, the U.S. government is consolidating 2,000 data centers.

NextGov writes previewed that the OMB planned to cut layers of investment review boards, create an elevated project management track and ask that Congress approve smaller projects instead of only mammoth big ticket ones that inevitably fail.

It's an effort long overdue. As we know in the enterprise, big projects often fail to deliver returns. When big projects meet big spending, consultants and crappy management you get a big failure.

The OMB is noting the gap between budget and IT cycles. That disconnect is why agencies go for big projects instead of small ones---there are no guarantees you'll get funding again.

All of these items sound good on paper, but the big unknown is whether the government bureaucracy can deliver.