Government-Wide Guidelines and Management Assistance Center Needed To Improve ADP Systems Development

AFMD-81-20: Published: Feb 20, 1981. Publicly Released: Feb 20, 1981.

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In more than 57 reports in the past 10 years, GAO has identified management weaknesses in the design and development of large, complex Federal data processing systems. GAO suggests a framework of principles and procedures for managing systems development which could be the basis for issuing Government-wide guidelines. The earlier recommendation that a management assistance center for computer software and systems development be established was reiterated.

GAO found that better management could have saved nearly $300 million in just 10 of the systems reviewed. At several agencies, development efforts were frequently unsuccessful because they had guidelines which were incomplete, not fully implemented, or not followed in actual practice. Some Federal agencies do not have sufficient and effective top management involvement and direction and a strong central office to facilitate agency-wide planning, coordination, and control of ADP resources. Top managers at many agencies do not have the required knowledge and expertise to effectively control systems development. GAO believes that effective planning and management control are mandatory if Federal agencies are to obtain the most effective and efficient use of the over $6 billion they spend annually on systems development.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Director of the Office of Management and Budget should require the head of each Federal agency to implement the guidelines.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  2. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Director of the Office of Management and Budget should establish a management assistance center for computer software and systems development, financed by the General Services Administration (GSA) Automatic Data Processing Fund, and reporting to the Director through a chartered user committee. The GSA Office of Software Development and the Federal Computer Performance Evaluation and Simulation Center should be consolidated into this new center.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  3. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Director of the Office of Management and Budget should issue Government-wide guidelines which will enable agencies to take a structured approach in developing automatic data processing systems. These guidelines should incorporate the management principles and procedures in appendix II.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

 

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