Opportunities To Improve Geological Survey's ADP Information Resources Management

IMTEC-83-8: Published: Sep 27, 1983. Publicly Released: Sep 27, 1983.

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GAO reviewed the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) management of automatic data processing (ADP) information resources, focusing on ADP planning, software development and management, data-base management, and computer capacity planning.

GAO found that USGS, which spends about $90 million annually for ADP support, has not identified ADP planning requirements agencywide or devised a strategy for meeting them. Previous USGS attempts at agencywide ADP planning were discontinued as being either unnecessary or unproductive. The five USGS divisions are responsible for determining their own ADP requirements and managing their own resources. Divisions have chosen to acquire minicomputers rather than use the mainframe computer and support services being acquired by the Information Systems Division. Because of the amount spent for ADP and the impact of ADP resources on meeting program objectives, USGS needs an agencywide planning process that would document which divisions need information, the types of information needed, and how accurate and timely the information should be. GAO also found that USGS has experienced significant management problems in its software development projects. The management and development of software are often being performed by personnel who lack ADP career experience, and a life-cycle software management policy to guide their performance has never been formalized. A review of two of the major software development projects revealed numerous design and operational problems. GAO believes that a formal life-cycle management process would alleviate many of these costly problems.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director, USGS, should assign a high priority to developing system life-cycle management policies for software projects agencywide.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior: Geological Survey

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director, USGS, should establish a continuous, integrated, agencywide ADP planning process which will update the requirements plan no less than annually.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior: Geological Survey

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director, USGS, should require software development projects to follow the principles of a system life-cycle management process.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior: Geological Survey

 

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