Over-Budget, Past-Due IT Projects Have Become An Embarrassment For The State
Though it hasn’t gotten a lot of media attention, but North Dakota’s management of government IT projects has become a real travesty. These projects consistently come in past deadline and/or millions over budget. A friendly legislator, expressing shock at just how poorly these projects are being managed, shared the IT report below with me (it’s from February 28th of this year) which details several projects with major problems.
Today the Bismarck Tribune writes about two projects which got some legislative scrutiny today during an interim committee hearing.
One is a software project to help the state’s Workforce Safety and Insurance department handle injury claims and employer insurance. The project was originally to have been completed in December of 2009, meaning it’s nearly two and a half years overdue. The cost of the project, too, has bloated. It was originally to cost $14 million, but is now coming in at $17.8 million.
The other project to get scrutiny is software for the Department of Human Resources to come into compliance with new federal guidelines for the Medicaid program. Though the deadline for completing the program isn’t until October of next year, the project is $8.5 million over budget. The federal government is picking up the originally-budgeted cost, but the overage may be the state’s responsibility.
Not that the federal funds are free money. We all are, after all, federal taxpayers too.
So, combined, these two projects are $12.3 million over budget and one of them is over two years late. Which is an eternity in the IT world. Computers manufactured two years ago are borderline obsolete today, yet it seems our state-managed IT projects can produce even a single (admittedly complex) computer program within that time.
Anywhere else in the state government a $12.3 million overage, not to mention delays calculated in the years, would be inspiration for much sturm und drang. But with these IT projects, as you can see from the report below, it’s all too common.