GAO Finds Best Practices for IT Acquisition

What makes for a successful information technology acquisition?

The Government Accountability Office searched to find out, interviewing officials from throughout the federal government to find best practices to guide other agencies in future purchases. In a new report, the GAO identified seven investments that best achieved their respective cost, schedule, scope and performance goals.

They are:

  1. Department of Commerce’s Decennial Response Integration System
  2. Department of Defense’s Global Combat Support System-Joint, Increment 7;
  3. Department of Energy’s Manufacturing Operations Management (MOMentum) Project;
  4. Department of Homeland Security’s Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative;
  5. Department of Transportation’s Integrated Terminal Weather System;
  6. Department of the Treasury’s Customer Account Data Engine 2 (CADE 2);
  7. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Occupational Health Record-keeping System.

Through these programs, the GAO was able to identify nine key drivers of IT acquisition:

  1. Program officials were actively engaged with stakeholders;
  2. Program staff had the necessary knowledge and skills;
  3. Senior department and agency executives supported the programs;
  4. End users and stakeholders were involved in the development of requirements;
  5. End users participated in testing of system functionality prior to formal end user acceptance testing;
  6. Government and contractor staff were stable and consistent;
  7. Program staff prioritized requirements;
  8. Program officials maintained regular communication with the prime contractor;
  9. Programs received sufficient funding

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