Flash Audit on OPM Infrastructure Update Plan

Flash Audit Alert – U.S. Office ofPersonnel Management’s Infrastructure Improvement Project (Report No. 4A-CI-00-15-055)

Hot off the presses! Just posted online today!

From the report:

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Office ofthe Inspector General (OIG) is issuing this Flash Audit Alert to bring to your immediate attention serious concerns we have regarding the Office of the Chief Information Officer’ s (OCIO) infrastructure improvement project (Project). 1 This Project includes a full overhaul ofthe agency’s technical infrastructure by implementing additional information technology (IT) security controls and then migrating the entire infrastructure into a completely new environment (referred to as Shell).

Our primary concern is that the OCIO has not followed U.S . Office ofManagement and Budget (OMB) requirements and project management best practices. The OCIO has initiated this project without a complete understanding ofthe scope ofOPM’ s existing technical infrastructure or the scale and costs of the effort required to migrate it to the new environment.

In addition, we have concerns with the nontraditional Government procurement vehicle that was used to secure a sole-source contract with a vendor to manage the infrastructure overhaul. While we agree that the sole-source contract may have been appropriate for the initial phases of securing the existing technical environment, we do not agree that it is appropriate to use this vehicle for the long-term system migration efforts.

How bad is it?

Several examples of critical processes that OPM has not completed for this project include:

  • Project charter;
  • Comprehensive list of project stakeholders;
  • Feasibility study to address scope and timeline in concert with budgetary justification/cost estimates;
  • Impact assessment for existing systems and stakeholders;
  • Quality assurance plan and procedures for contractor oversight;
  • Technological infrastructure acquisition plan;
  • High-level test plan; and,
  • Implementation plan to include resource planning, readiness assessment plan, success factors, conversion plan, and back-out plan.

The report isn’t that long, six (6) page in total, but it is a snap shot of bad project management in its essence.

I helped torpedo a project once upon a time where management defended a one paragraph email description of a proposed CMS system as being “agile.” The word they were looking for was “juvenile,” but they were unwilling to admit to years of mistakes in allowing the “programmer” (used very loosely) to remain employed.

What do you think of inspector generals as an audience for topic maps? They investigate large and disorganized agencies, repeatedly over time, with lots of players and documents. Thoughts?

PS: I read about the flash audit report several days ago but didn’t want to post about it until I could share a source for it. Would make great example material for a course on project management.

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