IT Reform Should Focus More On The Outcomes Than Tactics, Vanroekel Says

Rebecca Carroll | | May 8, 2014

With information technology evolving faster than laws governing federal contracting, legislation to reform how government buys and builds IT should focus more on results than on specific methods of achieving them, the federal chief information officer told lawmakers Thursday.

We should be thinking about "what kinds of outcomes we’re trying to drive versus what are the tactical ways we’re going to get these,” federal CIO Steven VanRoekel said at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, where panelists discussed the most successful approaches to IT contracting. “Many of the best practices you see here are really about comprehensive management, and that’s probably the hardest thing to legislate,” he said.

VanRoekel on Wednesday issued 2014 guidance for PortfolioStat, an initiative launched in 2012 to help agencies assess how they’re managing their IT portfolios. The latest memo asks agencies to build on previous efforts to gauge and report key performance indicators, with a new focus on “high impact” investments -- guidance VanRoekel cited as an example of what he’s done to encourage agencies to develop IT projects incrementally...