The Veterans Administration's Efforts To Consolidate Computer Programming Resources at a Single Location

HRD-81-148: Published: Sep 18, 1981. Publicly Released: Sep 25, 1981.

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GAO was requested to review the Veterans Administration's (VA) efforts to establish an automatic data processing Centralized Development Center (CDC) in Austin, Texas. The objective of the review was to examine the: (1) adequacy of the VA estimates of costs and benefits of establishing CDC at a single location; and (2) basis for projected personnel savings. GAO examined the estimate of costs and benefits of establishing CDC by comparing the costs of performing computer program development and maintenance work over a 5-year period under the present and proposed CDC approaches.

The VA examination of the estimated costs and benefits of the CDC was neither complete nor comprehensive enough to support a statement of whether establishing the CDC would be cost beneficial. While personnel ceiling reductions have been scheduled in anticipation of the savings expected to accrue from CDC operations, these savings are uncertain because they were based on: (1) a statistically invalid measure of improved programmer productivity; and (2) a methodology that was not sufficiently documented to permit independent verification.

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