The City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG) has completed an audit of the Department of Innovation and Technology’s (DoIT) management of the City’s investment in information technology, which found that the Department did not consistently adhere to best practices for project selection, thereby increasing the risk of projects delivering fewer benefits, costing more, and/or taking longer to complete. Additionally, the Department did not consistently or accurately monitor project performance, evaluate performance after completion, or use lessons learned to inform future IT projects.
OIG reviewed eight DoIT projects started in 2016 and 2017 and found that five of the six projects reviewed took longer than scheduled to complete, with two taking more than twice as long as originally planned. DoIT did not have a process or criteria for determining whether ongoing projects were meeting user department needs and should be continued or terminated. In addition, the Chicago Police Department, Chicago Fire Department, and Office of Emergency Management and Communications each declined to use DoIT’s project selection process. Therefore, DoIT could not rank these departments’ projects against those proposed by other departments for purposes of setting priorities for spending City resources.
OIG made several recommendations to improve DoIT’s processes. These include,
- collect critical data needed to rank proposed projects and make informative selection decisions;
- develop procedures for collecting more robust cost, benefit, and risk data to facilitate comparative evaluation of the merits across all City departments;
- work with the Office of Budget and Management and the Mayor’s Office to ensure that the various entities authorized to oversee IT strategy and spending are fully engaged in maximizing the return on the City’s investment throughout a project lifecycle; and
- set performance goals and ensure that launched projects met said goals while also monitoring and evaluating progress or decline.
DoIT agreed with our recommendations and stated that it has undertaken changes that will address the findings. These changes include updating relevant policies; requiring project managers to adhere to all written policies for selection, monitoring and evaluation of projects; achieving full engagement by the IT Governance Board; and requiring all City departments to engage in standardized IT oversight processes.
“The services that the Department of Innovation and Technology provides must be reliable, accurate, and economical, meeting not only the City’s strategic goals and the technological needs across departments, but also allocating limited City resources in the most efficient manner possible,” said Inspector General Joe Ferguson. “DoIT’s response to the audit reflects its appreciation of the critical importance to provide consistent and effective project management and a rigorous approach to evaluation, to ensure that all future projects are well-chosen and that the City is at the frontline of the ever-evolving technological needs of all its employees and residents. In order to assure future success, we encourage DoIT (and its successor) to enlist the assistance of the Mayor to assure the fullest participation and cooperation of departments Citywide in this critical enterprise function.”
The full report can be found online at OIG’s website: bit.ly/DoITAudit
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The mission of the independent and non-partisan City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG) is to promote economy, effectiveness, efficiency, and integrity by identifying corruption, waste, and mismanagement in City government. OIG is a watchdog for the taxpayers of the City and has jurisdiction to conduct investigations and audits into most aspects of City government. If you see corruption, fraud, or waste of any kind, we need to hear from you. For more information, visit our website.