SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Today’s number: $2 million

Friday, Mar 28, 2014

* From an Illinois Auditor General’s report on the State Employees’ Retirement System

During our examination we noted that there were problems with the Modernization - Re-Engineering Project.

The project has been ongoing for five years, is only 20% complete, and over $2,000,000 has been expended by the State Retirement Systems collectively.

Due to staffing issues and the lack of a project management framework and the associated documentation, the project has not been fully implemented. In addition, formal documentation to provide detailed information on the current status and projected completion date is lacking.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


31 Comments
  1. - OneMan - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 10:35 am:

    Ongoing for 5 years and 20% complete…

    That is one way government is different, unless you are developing an OS or something in the private sector you can’t do a technology project over 5 years (no less be looking at a 25 year completion time frame at the current rate).

    Technology changes too much, heck even the ‘frameworks’ the audit references change over that period of time.

    Would be interested to see what the project scope and goals are (assuming they exist).


  2. - Weltschmerz - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 10:36 am:

    How do you start a project without a Preliminary System Design and who approved it?


  3. - Weltschmerz - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 10:37 am:

    OneMan - You couldn’t do it in my state division when I was there.


  4. - VanillaMan - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 10:39 am:

    Five years.
    No project management framework.
    No project management framework documentation.
    Project not fully implemented.
    No formal documentation to review regarding project status.
    No projected completion date.

    Holy mother of all things holy!

    It must be agonizing to work in the auditor general’s office and cover this kind of mismanagement, incompetence and maladministration.

    Disgraceful!


  5. - Demoralized - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 10:42 am:

    ==you can’t do a technology project over 5 years==

    I’ve seen my fair share of technology projects take several years to complete. It’s generally due to lack of staff, turnover of staff, lack of funding, and the convoluted contracting process that government must go through (i.e when you get through the process the technology you were going for may have been replaced by something a little better). I was involved in a technology procurement that took more than a year to complete from beginning to end.


  6. - PMcP - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 10:43 am:

    To be honest, depending on the system they’re on and the system they’re upgrading to, long change windows are going to happen. I’m assuming they’re still on an IBM OS (which IBM hasn’t been updated since the 90s) so those things take a while since you’re skipping generations of intermediate technology and the data sources aren’t easily convertible to Windows/Unix environments.

    That being said, you’d expect them to be near completion at this point, the five year window itself shouldn’t be too surprising, assuming the technology is as outdated as I’m guessing it is.


  7. - OneMan - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 10:52 am:

    Demoralized,

    Well then you are one up on me, 20 years in the industry and never saw anything take more than about 18 months (nothing even close to 5 years) and the 18 months was a complete redesign of a software package we sold.

    Even using this example, odds are your hardware specs have had to have been at least twice in 5 years. Your target OS will have likely gone through 2 major versions. If you are doing a web app you would have seen the option of the cloud come into play. If you are using a DB technology you would be on your third major version of most of the popular DB platforms in that time.

    Bottom line IMHO the audit makes sense if you are 5 years in and 20% done project planning at this point is likely like trying to nail jello to the wall.


  8. - PublicServant - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 10:53 am:

    Really hard to tell here. “Due to staffing issues…” means what exactly? A certain level of documentation is necessary, but in and of itself documentation, if not maintained, over time always becomes, well…a lie.

    Demoralized has it right.


  9. - cod - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 10:55 am:

    Honest pension reform would have addressed problems like this, instead of reneging on retiree’s pension contracts.

    Real reform has still not been done, but it is really needed to protect pensions from plunder.


  10. - Curmudgeon - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 11:12 am:

    Have to agree with Demoralized & COD on this. Been thru a fairly successful State “Re-engineering” project and have been in programs & agencies where projects stalled because the key people left, legislators or the “the Feds” or Gov’s office/central administration kept changing the parameters or the legislators or Gov;s office choked off the funding. The best comparison would be to the Navy’s procurement of new multi-function “brown water” ships, in which the specs and expected outcomes are constantly being revised. This is almost certainly NOT a “buy a new computer system & install it” technology project.


  11. - Norseman - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 11:14 am:

    OneMan, this is one of the differences between government and the private sector. Demoralized accurately states the issues that I’ve experienced as well. I was frustrated by it, but that is the way it is. Shortly before I retired, there was an IT project the director wanted to be completed in six months. Almost two years later, that project still has not been completed. Sad, but the results of the staff shortage and other factors mentioned by Demoralized.


  12. - Demoralized - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 11:20 am:

    @OneMan:

    I was just providing my personal experiences. Some get done quickly. Others don’t.


  13. - VanillaMan - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 11:33 am:

    Look at that again guys.

    This isn’t about spending $2 million on a project that is five years old.

    This is about spending $2 million on a project over the past five years that hasn’t even been given a project management framework!

    This is like spending $2 million on a house that hasn’t a blueprint, a contractor, or clue.

    This is shameful.


  14. - Walker - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 11:34 am:

    One Man, Norseman, Demoralized, et al, clearly right to criticize.

    Only specific I might add, is that I read “staffing problems and project management” to mean that the best tech people and project managers have been RIFed or turned over, as the number of state employees has dramatically shrunk in the same time period.

    I’ve heard that complaint in more than one state department. Great idea, almost no people to do it.


  15. - RetiredStateEmployee - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 11:39 am:

    Actually, the IT problems go back much further. I was there in 2005 and the in house system was so far out of date, there was no IBM support. They were beginning to convert the obsolete mainframe system to a PC system. There have been management problems even further back. No money for staff, no money for training and no money for upgraded hardware. I can’t believe it has taken this long for someone to notice the problems with this agency.


  16. - Sunshine - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 11:50 am:

    Take a look at some of the “old” system software still in place at DHS. A primary vendor, IBM, has created a nearly unsolvable situation in several agencies by their control and lack of focused and planned technology change.

    Top programmers have left or are leaving. What is happening at SERS isn’t at all unusual as it is like starting over every year. Long term technology planning in government is difficult at best; New rules, new programs, new platforms, new ideas from uninformed politicians, and no money.

    At least their investing for retirees appears to be doing moderately well.


  17. - RetiredContractor - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 11:58 am:

    After 15 years in the private sector, I was on contract to the state for a major project. Our first meeting with the state employees maintaining the current state system was a real shocker. One systems analyst spoke up that there was no need to change anything, she only had 13 years until she retired. Some of the other state employees agreed with her. These were IT staff! I was totally floored and found out later that they were only starting to do something because of the auditor general’s report of their current system. Their system was already a dinosaur and they stalled us at every opportunity. State management never supported the project. The project dragged on forever (or it just seemed like it.) I finally had enough and left.


  18. - DuPage - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 12:06 pm:

    Where did the $2,000,000 come from? Did they take it out of SERS pension fund money?


  19. - Jack Handy - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 12:18 pm:

    An auditor general’s report does not have the same impact on goverment union employees as a simple status report does to private sector employees.

    This will continue for another few years and then will probably be abandoned.


  20. - Plutocrat03 - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 12:41 pm:

    If there was a staffing problem, where did the $$ go.


  21. - Smitty Irving - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 12:55 pm:

    Knowing only what I’ve read in the news part of the post, this isn’t surprising. The State of California had trouble with their retirement system upgrade.
    http://blogs.sacbee.com/the_state_worker/2011/11/calpers-retirement-benefits-computers-pensions.html

    The Feds have tried, and failed, since the Reagan Administration to upgrade their system.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2014/03/22/sinkhole-of-bureaucracy/

    Whatever other problems there were, government pensions, by their very nature, are difficult to write software for because of all the legislative “addons” that make programming very difficult. From the WaPo link: “The task takes so much time in part because Congress has made the federal retirement rules extremely complex.”


  22. - flea - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 12:58 pm:

    not surprising …CMS is in the lead on this project, right?


  23. - Curmudgeon - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 1:01 pm:

    Vanilla Man: “This is about spending $2 million on a project over the past five years that hasn’t even been given a project management framework!
    This is like spending $2 million on a house that hasn’t a blueprint, a contractor, or clue. This is shameful.”

    No, this is reality when you have to deal with different Governors bringing in different staff, changing agency directors with completely different “visions”, revolving door bureau/division management, and so on. Add to that Federal agencies (if your program is substantially Federally funded) who are pushing you to install a system that was developed for a substantially different state legal and operational structure and demand compliance with security protocols that are altogether different from what other Fed agencies are demanding, and all of which are difficult to reconcile with what CMS is trying to implement …

    In other words, you’re dealing with six different blueprints which are being revised annually by 3 different architects, and you’re dealing with 5 contractors, each of whom insists that he is the prime contractor.


  24. - Gantt Chart - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 1:09 pm:

    No, Flea…this one can’t be blamed on CMS. SERS has their own IT braintrust running the show.


  25. - Arthur Andersen - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 1:19 pm:

    Curmudgeon, your point is often valid, but I don’t think that fact pattern applies here.

    SERS has historically run a pretty lean staff, particularly in the areas not directly related to providing the pensions. That thrift, coupled with having to go through CMS and let us not forget all the pension law changes since 2009 that would impact IT, likely put them in this jam.

    Good folks running that shop. They just need a few more hands on deck.


  26. - Fiercely Independent - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 1:37 pm:

    Curmudgeon

    SERS is not under the Governor


  27. - Arthur Andersen - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 1:40 pm:

    My Bad. Retract the part “about having to go through CMS.”


  28. - Fiercely Independent - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 1:42 pm:

    Arthur Andersen

    Not being under the Governor’s office, SERS is not required to go through CMS for everything. They may be doing it, but they don’t have to.


  29. - Curmudgeon - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 2:36 pm:

    Yeah, I realize SERS isn’t under the Governor (for which I give thanks!), but when I wrote that response, I was thinking of state agency projects I’ve been involved in and gov’t projects IN GENERAL, be they high tech, low tech, or no tech involved at all.


  30. - Interesting priorities - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 3:23 pm:

    At least the project managers aren’t eating sandwiches at their desk, because they’d have to do something about that waste.
    http://capitolfax.com/2012/05/30/inspector-general-clouseau-strikes-again/


  31. - Confused - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 3:43 pm:

    Is this agency building a pension application from scratch? There are pension software packages!


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Proft busts caps in Bertino-Tarrant race
* Today's quotable
* Funding stuff that works
* Question of the day
* Caption contest!
* More complicated than it already looks
* Caught in a vicious cycle
* How can we miss you if you won't go away?
* Rules bent a bit to move ConAgra headquarters to Chicago
* Trump raises money in Illinois for out of state candidates, while NRSC jumps in for Kirk
* *** UPDATED x1 CPS responds *** CTU says 95 percent voted to strike
* Video gaming could be a huge revenue generator for state, Chicago
* Let's tone it down a little
* Safe Roads backers begin TV blitz
* Kasper speaks
* The transformation is almost complete
* Caps off in comptroller's race
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............
<


Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

  
* OnePlus 3 spreads to the conventional UK retail channel with O2 exclusivity
* It’s practically confirmed now: Samsung Galaxy C9 sports 6GB RAM, 16MP rear and front cams
* 5-inch Google Pixel phone doesn’t show us much in latest full-frontal leaked render
* Hello, leaked Google Pixel
* HP Elite x3 Anniversary Update fixes camera issues that held sales
* Honor 6X rumored for launch October 18 with dual cameras
* ChargeTech brings PLUG to Indiegogo: 250W of power, two AC outlets

* Morneau's 3 RBIs back Shields in 1st W since July
* Sale looks to improve Cy Young hopes vs. Rays
* Shields snaps 10-start winless run vs. Rays
* Morneau's 3 RBIs back Shields in 1st W since July
* Morneau's 3 RBIs back Shields in 1st W since July
* Chance concert at U.S. Cellular is a success
* Eaton hopes for return to lineup on Tuesday

...............


Main Menu
Home
Illinois
YouTube
Pundit rankings
Obama
Subscriber Content
Durbin
Burris
Blagojevich Trial
Advertising
Updated Posts
Polls

Archives
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005

Syndication

RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0
WordPress

Loading


* Gold Star Families Day Created - Alton Daily News..
* SALMAGUNDI: Rauner's video session a good, safe.....


* EXCHANGE: Woman comes on strong, soars to second in world
* At NBA media day, concern for country over concern for team
* Man convicted in 1995 double murder freed, facing retrial
* US attorney says probe of Chicago police is largest ever
* Moody's pushes CPS credit rating deeper into junk status
* Man charged in shooting at popular Chicago tourist spot
* Study: Illinois video gaming has generated about $785M
* Study: Illinois video gaming has generated about $785M
* Some retired educators in suburban Chicago receive bonuses
* Illinois man to plead not guilty in wife's 1990 death

* Chicago teachers vote to authorize strike in contract talks
* First Gold Star Families Day observed at Capitol
* Donation lifts fundraising caps in Illinois comptroller race
* Planning underway locally for Illinois' 200th birthday
* Attack on state senator leads to arrest of murder suspects
* Illinois Supreme Court overturns law allowing 6-member juries
* Local unemployment of 4.6 percent still lowest in state
* Elderly frozen-treat seller gets $380,000 from GoFundMe page
* Creation of Amish history museum in central Illinois underway
* Privately funded Executive Mansion work will follow traditional wage, bidding rules

* Will selling to ConAgra affect Bayless' brand?
* Clinton and Trump finally square off, and the winner is?
* U.S. attorney says probe of Chicago police is largest ever
* Fact check: Trump, Clinton deny their own words in debate
* Moody's whacks CPS debt deeper into junk land


* Man shot, seriously wounded in Chatham
* Police: 1 dead, 10 wounded in Monday shootings across Chicago
* Cubs notes: Bryant’s 100th RBI pays off for Coghlan
* Win of the century? Sure, but Cubs seek more than 100-win season
* Moody’s pushes CPS credit rating deeper into junk status
* Hendricks beats Bucs for Cubs’ 100th win, eyes ERA crown
* Georgia Nicols horoscopes for Sept. 27, 2016
* Dear Abby: Boyfriend won’t call out his mean sister
* Abreu stays hot, Shields snaps drought as Sox top Rays
* Late Marlins ace Fernandez has numbers to win Cy Young


* Windsor school 'tasting menu' a big hit with students
* Magnificent Manistee is a real catch! -- Hyde Park Cats
* Bears film session: Hard to get excited about Brian Hoyer's performance
* Cubs manager Joe Maddon on Cubs' 100th win
* Reactions from around America to first presidential debate
* First presidential debate fact check
* 9 shot on West, South sides, including boy, 15
* Presidential debate shows you never bring a Cheeto to a knife fight
* Clinton outscores Trump -- but the campaign isn't over yet
* Cubs' Joe Maddon receives "green" education from Kyle Hendricks


The widget AQL4JYGHIY powered by Feed Informer does not exist.


* Their View: Where is today's RFK?
* Chicago teachers vote to authorize strike in contract talks
* First Gold Star Families Day observed at Capitol
* Donation lifts fundraising caps in Illinois comptroller race
* Deckle McLain: Rise of bots can't be ignored in economy
* Bernard Schoenburg: Interesting twists in Troemper-Reid circuit judge race
* Statehouse Insider: Do you remember where you were during Rauner's Facebook Live session?
* Compass for Kids supports at-risk children
* Innovate Springfield gives boost to new businesses
* Eric Zarnikow: Aid changes mean students should act now


* Pat Brasher
* Patricia L. Knop
* William Thomas 'Tom' Robinson III
* Linda Dawes
* Mary Ellen Windings
* Dixie Lee Meischner
* Bobby James Murray
* John L. Grant
* Steven L. Johnson
* Hollis Dwight Henderson


* LEADING OFF: Red Sox can clinch as Papi begins Bronx goodbye
* Suburban political team dissects war games between Clinton, Trump
* AP Fact Check: First presidential debate
* Jered Weaver contemplates future after Angels beat A's 2-1
* Girls tennis scoreboard: Monday, Sept. 26 results

* House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
* Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
* The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
* Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
* Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
* CBD Oil, and politics
* Simon considering state Senate bid
* Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
* Shutdown? State may not notice
* Rep. Bob Dold

* Guest OP-ED: Durbin Threatening Shut Down ......
* Government action on for-profit college ac......

* Overhills forfeits football win against So......

* Big Changes Coming Monday For Wilson Red Line Riders
* Portions of Wilson, Leland Closed to Vehicular Traffic For CTA Construction Work
* “The Driver’s Side” – News From The Motorist’s Perspective
* Soccer returns to Soldier Field?
* EXTRA: Aaaughh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
* Eagles Bulding Starbucks To Close October 5th
* Eagles Building Starbucks To Close October 5th
* Trump vs Clinton in dead heat; Monday night's debates could be crucial
* Trump vs Clinton in dead heat; Monday night's debate could be crucial
* Gill Fights To Get Back On Ballot In Illinois' 13th Congressional Distict


* Governor Rauner Proclaims First Gold Star Family Day in Illinois
* IDNR Announces Campsite Reservations Open for Sites in Solar Eclipse Zone - Southern Illinois Will Experience Total Solar Eclipse Aug. 21, 2017
* IDOT Hiring in Preparation of Winter Weather - Temporary help needed to assist with snow-and-ice removal, public urged to apply
* Illinois Department of Insurance Reminds ‘Land of Lincoln Health’ Customers to Enroll In New Coverage - The deadline for ‘Land of Lincoln Health’ customers to enroll in a new plan is September 30, 2016; Consumers could experience a gap in health care cove
* Governor Rauner Celebrates Illinois’ Hunting Heritage on National Hunting and Fishing Day




      Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller