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Highlights

For the past two decades, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has been working to modernize the paper-intensive processes and antiquated systems used to support the retirement of federal employees. By moving to an automated system, OPM intends to improve the program's efficiency and effectiveness. In January 2008, GAO recommended that the agency address risks to successful system deployment. Nevertheless, OPM deployed a limited initial version of the modernized system in February 2008. After unsuccessful efforts to address system quality issues, OPM suspended system operation, terminated a major contract, and began restructuring the modernization effort, also referred to as RetireEZ. For this study, GAO was asked to (1) assess the status of OPM's efforts to plan and implement the RetireEZ program and (2) evaluate the effectiveness of the agency's management of the modernization initiative. To do this, GAO reviewed OPM program documentation and interviewed agency and contractor officials.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Office of Personnel Management To improve OPM's effort toward planning and implementing its retirement modernization program by addressing management weaknesses, the Director of OPM should develop a complete plan for the restructured program that defines the scope, implementation strategy, lines of responsibility and authority, management processes, and schedule. Further, the plan should establish results-oriented (i.e., objective, quantifiable, and measurable) goals and associated performance measures for the program.
Closed - Implemented

Recommendation status is Closed - Implemented.

The Office of Personnel Management agreed with our recommendation and took action to begin addressing the weaknesses we identified. For example, the agency began revising its program management plan to reflect changes in the retirement system modernization program. Although in February 2011, the agency decided to terminate the program, we consider the action taken to be responsive to our recommendation to address the weakness we identified.
Office of Personnel Management To improve OPM's effort toward planning and implementing its retirement modernization program by addressing management weaknesses, the Director of OPM should develop a reliable cost estimate by following the best practice steps outlined in our Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide, including definition of the estimate's purpose, development of an estimating plan, definition of the program's characteristics, and determination of the estimating structure.
Closed - Implemented

Recommendation status is Closed - Implemented.

The Office of Personnel Management agreed with our recommendation and took action to begin addressing the weaknesses we identified. For example, the agency began efforts to develop a cost estimate by re-examining all aspects of the retirement modernization project using GAO's Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide. Although in February 2011, the agency decided to terminate the retirement system modernization program, we consider the action taken to be responsive to our recommendation to address the weakness we identified.
Office of Personnel Management To improve OPM's effort toward planning and implementing its retirement modernization program by addressing management weaknesses, the Director of OPM should establish a basis for reliable EVM, when appropriate, by developing a reliable program cost estimate, performing an integrated baseline review, and validating a performance measurement baseline that reflects the program restructuring.
Closed - Implemented

Recommendation status is Closed - Implemented.

The Office of Personnel Management agreed with our recommendation and took action to begin addressing the weaknesses we identified. For example, the agency began to establish a basis for reliable EVM by taking steps toward developing a revised cost estimate. Although in February 2011, the agency decided to terminate the retirement system modernization program, we consider the action taken to be responsive to our recommendation to address the weakness we identified.
Office of Personnel Management To improve OPM's effort toward planning and implementing its retirement modernization program by addressing management weaknesses, the Director of OPM should develop a requirements management plan and execute processes described in the plan to develop retirement modernization requirements in accordance with recognized guidance.
Closed - Implemented

Recommendation status is Closed - Implemented.

The Office of Personnel Management agreed with our recommendation and took action to begin addressing the weaknesses we identified. For example, the agency began developing a requirements management plan in accordance with recognized guidance. Although in February 2011, the agency decided to terminate the retirement system modernization program, we consider the action taken to be responsive to our recommendation to address the weakness we identified.
Office of Personnel Management To improve OPM's effort toward planning and implementing its retirement modernization program by addressing management weaknesses, the Director of OPM should begin RetireEZ test planning activities early in the life cycle.
Closed - Implemented

Recommendation status is Closed - Implemented.

The Office of Personnel Management agreed with our recommendation and took action to begin addressing the weaknesses we identified. For example, the agency began to develop a test plan that would be based on industry standards and finalized prior to testing activities. Although in February 2011, the agency decided to terminate the retirement system modernization program, we consider the action taken and to be responsive to our recommendation to address the weakness we identified.
Office of Personnel Management To improve OPM's effort toward planning and implementing its retirement modernization program by addressing management weaknesses, the Director of OPM should develop policies and procedures that would establish meaningful program oversight and require appropriate action to address management deficiencies.
Closed - Implemented

Recommendation status is Closed - Implemented.

The Office of Personnel Management agreed with our recommendation and took action to begin addressing the weaknesses we identified. For example, the agency began to review its processes for investment oversight in order to identify opportunities to strengthen its policies and procedures. Although in February 2011, the agency decided to terminate the retirement system modernization program, we consider the action taken to be responsive to our recommendation to address the weakness we identified.

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