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Highlights

The Office of the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) plays an important role in supporting the effective functioning of Congress and its neighboring institutions. In January 2003, GAO conducted a comprehensive management review of AOC's operations and made 35 recommendations to help AOC establish a strategic management and accountability framework, improve its management infrastructure and internal control, and address longstanding concerns. In February 2003, the Conference Report mandated GAO to monitor progress being made on the implementation of the 35 management review recommendations.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Architect of the Capitol 1. To further progress in developing its strategic management and accountability framework and improve communications agencywide, the Architect of the Capitol should gather and analyze employee feedback from focus groups or surveys before fiscal year 2005, as well as communicate how it is taking actions to address any identified employee concerns.
Closed - Implemented
This recommendation builds upon our recommendation contained in our 2003 review (GAO-03-231) that AOC developed a comprehensive strategy to improve internal and external communications by providing opportunities for routine employee input and feedback. AOC held focus group sessions in September 2004 and has communicated planned actions to employees by issuing three brochures. According to AOC, it has begun to implement several of the planned actions and will continue to communicate with employees as each action plan is implemented. In addition, AOC has issued a focus group guide that outlines procedures for conducting focus groups and reporting on the results.
Architect of the Capitol 2. To further progress in developing its strategic management and accountability framework and improve communications agencywide, the Architect of the Capitol should conduct a pilot of AOC congressional protocols in one or more of its jurisdictions to determine how well protocols would work in addressing customer requests for service, while balancing the demands of multiple requests with the strategic plan and corresponding project priorities of the agency.
Closed - Implemented
Our January 2004 report on the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) said that agency protocols would help create a basic understanding between AOC and its stakeholders about how AOC's efforts and resources can be targeted at the highest priorities, as well as transparency about how decisions and tradeoffs can be made and services deployed given the competing demands that confront AOC. We noted that the agency needs to discuss with its stakeholders how protocols will help AOC balance immediate customer needs with the achievement of overall agency strategic goals. Our report also stated that a pilot test of congressional protocols would provide AOC and its customers an opportunity to test the application of the protocols to the various types of customer needs that AOC confronts and to revise those protocols based on feedback obtained during the pilot. As such, we recommended that AOC conduct a pilot of its congressional protocols in one or more of its jurisdictions to determine how well its protocols would work in addressing customer requests for service, while balancing the need of multiple requests with the strategic plan and corresponding project priorities of the agency. As of February 2007, AOC has implemented our recommendation by choosing to pilot its congressional protocols agencywide to avoid potential confusion among jurisdictions operating under different protocols and to take advantage of the benefits of training all employees concurrently. AOC officials stated that AOC expects to receive feedback from its stakeholders during the protocol's implementation and will revise the protocols, as appropriate.
Architect of the Capitol 3. To further its progress in the management of its information technology, the Architect of the Capitol should plan for and implement those practices in our IT investment management guide associated with corporate, portfolio-based investment decision making, such as (1) implementing criteria to select investments that will best support the organization's strategic goals, objectives, and mission, (2) using these criteria to consistently analyze and prioritize all IT investments, (3) ensuring that the optimal investment portfolio with manageable risks and returns is selected and funded, and (4) overseeing each investment within the portfolio to ensure that it achieves its cost, benefit, schedule, and risk expectations.
Closed - Implemented
AOC has continued to plan for and implement those practices in our IT investment management guide associated with corporate, portfolio-based investment decision making. AOC has further developed criteria to select investments that best support the organization's strategic goals, objectives, and mission. The agency has begun to apply the criteria to ensure that the optimal IT investment portfolio is selected and funded. AOC has also implemented its IT investment program by developing a prioritized portfolio of investments and overseeing each investment to ensure that it achieves its cost, benefit, schedule, and risk expectations.
Architect of the Capitol 4. To further its progress in the management of its information technology, the Architect of the Capitol should plan for and implement the practices in our architecture management guide associated with leveraging an EA for organizational transformation, such as (1) ensuring that adequate resources are devoted to the program (funding, people, tools, and technology), (2) ensuring that the architecture describes both the "as is" and the "to be" environments in terms of performance, (3) ensuring that architecture business, performance, information and data, applications and services, and technology descriptions address security, and (4) ensuring that metrics are used to measure EA progress, quality, compliance, and return on investment.
Closed - Implemented
AOC has planned for and implemented the key practices in our architecture management guide associated with leveraging an EA for organizational transformation. Specifically, the agency has ensured that adequate resources are devoted to the program (funding, people, tools, and technology), developed a written policy for architecture development and maintenance; and measured and reported progress against architecture plans. The agency has also developed an architecture that describes both the "as is" and the "to be" environments in terms of performance. Additionally, in June 2010 the agency completed its enterprise architecture security view to describe its "as is" and "to be" security states. Regarding metrics, the agency has developed EA metrics and measures that are used to measure EA progress, quality, compliance, and return on investment.

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