By December 2015 CalTech should develop and adopt criteria to guide the type and degree of intervention it will take to prevent IT projects with significant problems from continuing without correction, including when and how IPO analysts should recommend corrective action and escalate issues to CalTech's management.
Reflected in SIMM 45, CDT developed and adopted criteria to guide the type and degree of intervention it will take to prevent IT projects with significant problems from continuing without correction.
ITPOD has developed a draft escalation and correction action plan. The final version is expected to be completed in December 2016.
The Information Technology Project Oversight Division ITPOD has developed an escalation process which includes a reporting template and examples of conditions that warrant escalation (See attached). In the course of drafting the escalation process, ITPOD decided to also develop a "Corrective Action Plan" process which will formally notify departments that certain conditions or negative trends must be remediated, and if allowed to continue, could result in suspension or termination of the project. This process will become official State policy which necessitates allowing for consultation with Agency Information Officers and drafting State Administrative Manual updates. The additional time needed for this recommendation is due to the anticipated time needed to appropriately articulate and vet the conditions which warrant this action.
Activity is progressing in developing the criteria for future use in determining project intervention.
- Communicate the criteria for suspending or terminating a project to ITPOD - complete
- Develop high level conditions which can be observed and documented - in process
- Document ITPOD's internal escalation process - in process
Although CalTech provided us documentation that it met with its staff to communicate its criteria for suspending or terminating a project, the criteria provided was the same as that included in its response to our report, which we indicated was not sufficient. Specifically, we noted that the criteria provided in its response was a good start; however, the criteria only speaks to circumstances where the need to intervene is apparent. We believe guidance is important in situations where professional judgment is needed—as we note on page 13 of our report—such as before IT projects reach the situations CalTech describes. Furthermore, CalTech's response does not address our concerns discussed on page 15 of our report that, beyond the description in state law, it has not defined the remedial measures, short of suspension or termination, that it may pursue, or the fact that CalTech lacks criteria to guide independent project oversight (IPO) analysts in recommending such measures. According to our IT expert, without such guidance, CalTech cannot meaningfully defend its decisions about whether and when to intervene in a troubled IT project.
Agency responses received are posted verbatim.