GAO Finds Agencies Struggle to Use Incremental Development

(Illustration: Shutterstock)

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that 62 percent of major information technology (IT) software development investments were certified by the agency chief information officer (CIO) for using adequate incremental development in fiscal year 2017. However, a number of responses for the remaining investments were incorrectly reported due to agency error.

Officials from 21 of the 24 agencies in GAO’s review reported challenges that hindered their ability to use incremental development including inefficient governance processes, procurement delays, and organizational changes associated with transitioning from long-term product delivery to shorter development time frames.

However, agencies reported that they used the information from the process to help identify investments that could more effectively use an incremental approach.

As of August 2017, only four of the 24 agencies had clearly defined CIO incremental development certification policies that included descriptions of the role of the CIO in the process, how the CIO’s certification will be documented, and definitions of incremental development and time frames for delivering functionality.

The four agencies that were found to have a clear policy were the departments of Commerce, Energy, Homeland Security, and Transportation.

Eleven agencies had a policy but it wasn’t clearly defined, and nine agencies didn’t have a policy.

GAO made recommendations to agencies to improve reporting accuracy and to update or establish certification policies.

 

Recent