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Transforming IT at the Department of Labor

Transforming IT at the Department of Labor

Transforming IT at the Department of Labor

OPPORTUNITY

When the GovernmentCIO team began working with SOL in 2012, there was no consolidated case management system. Instead, there were more than a dozen databases spread across the country, and the information was so highly compartmentalized that it was nearly impossible to share data without mailing a physical file. Tracking and sorting information were highly manual processes, with the management reporting requiring hundreds of labor hours per month. SOL was in the process of implementing a new, consolidated Matter Management System (MMS), but progress was slow. The development team was following a Waterfall-type process and releases were constantly behind schedule with numerous quality issues. Additionally, the governance activities were reflecting the development difficulties as the investment was receiving unacceptable evaluations on its capital planning (CPIC) and security scorecards. The GovernmentCIO team saw opportunities to improve quality, compliance, and efficiency while lowering total cost of ownership.

SOLUTION

When the GovernmentCIO team transitioned on as the SOL’s application support contractor, we assessed the current processes and identified several potential improvements. We implemented a Kanban system to improve transparency in each team’s communication with the system owners and users, and we identified several bottlenecks in the development process.

Keeping the same development team, we transitioned to an Agile methodology focusing on delivering high-quality features at time-boxed intervals (Sprints). This allowed us to provide greater flexibility to the system owners who could now deploy more frequent releases if a particular feature was urgent or of very high value. Conversely, they could choose a longer development cycle if they needed a larger number of features implemented in a given release.

We followed a similar approach to improve the system management and governance issues. We began by assessing the current practices and found that communication between SOL and the CIO’s office (OCIO) was an area that could be improved. Our solution was to improve communication by opening a more frequent dialog with the OCIO’s Capital Planning and IT Security Compliance teams. We encouraged their participation in our planning sessions and asked for their input on compliance deliverables earlier in the process.