Online Extra: Forman's calculated approach, a timeline

When Mark Forman signed up to manage the federal government's IT efforts, he came with a vision. He formulated a strategy and set milestones for the government to accomplish its e-government objectives using industry practices.

Forman preached cooperation among agencies and wasn't afraid to chastise officials who balked at the Bush administration's demands.

And over the last two years, Forman, who on Friday left his position as the Office of Management and Budget's administrator for e-government and IT to return to industry, calculated the release of each piece of his plan to build upon earlier work.

Although his vision of a fully electronic government is far from complete, many within industry and government extol the legacy he has left behind.

"Mark played senior manager, analyst and mentor to many people at OMB and in government," said Stephen Galvan, CIO of the Small Business Administration and a former Quicksilver portfolio manager at OMB. "Mark brought a unique combination of knowledge of the government, IT management practices and e-business approaches that drive change."

Forman's ability to drive change and transform agency culture helped him accomplish much, government experts said.

Starting with the Quicksilver process that trimmed more than 300 e-government projects to 25 and ending with agencies submitting joint business cases for similar IT projects for fiscal 2005, federal government observers said Forman accomplished more in two years than previous governmentwide IT managers.

The following is a look at the high points of the past two years for federal IT and e-gov under Forman's tenure:

June 2001

Forman reports to work for OMB on June 25. He says a priority is for agencies with similar missions and common practices to "simplify their processes."

October 2001

OMB identifies cross-agency e-government efforts that it will focus on because they could benefit several agencies, eliminate duplication and allow for information sharing.

December 2001

Expecting only $5 million in e-gov funding from Congress, OMB asks agencies to share money from their discretionary funds to support the Quicksilver projects.

January 2002

Forman adds to OMB's e-government team: Norman Lorentz joins as chief technology officer from Dice Inc. of New York, and the Health and Human Services Department's Debra Stouffer accepts a 90-day assignment to develop a governmentwide architecture.

March 2002

OMB sets milestones for each of the 25 Quicksilver projects.
April 2002 OMB issues standard technology models to help developers of e-gov projects. The agency also identifies Java 2 Enterprise Edition and Microsoft .Net as the platform technologies for Quicksilver initiatives. It distributes some of the $5 million e-gov fund to the GovBenefits portal, E-Authentication project, Business Compliance One-Stop and FirstGov portal.

May 2002

Then OMB administrator Mitchell E. Daniels sends letters to agency heads invoking the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 to require them to share more than $27 million for the Online Rule-making project.

June 2002

OMB names solutions architects to help some Quicksilver projects. The architects help create Quicksilver links to the FirstGov portal and E-Authentication gateway and set strategies for assuring the projects mesh with the Federal Enterprise Architecture.

July 2002

In preparation for the new Homeland Security Department, OMB freezes work on all IT projects with values of more than $500,000 at agencies slated to join the new department.

To help agencies with their fiscal 2004 budget submissions, OMB releases Version 1 of the Business Reference Model of the Federal Enterprise Architecture. The model outlines 35 lines of business and 136 subfunctions that agencies can use to find opportunities for joint projects.

August 2002

OMB instructs agency CIOs and IT investment review boards to develop joint IT business cases for 2004.

September 2002

For 2005, OMB says it will request a separate pool of money for architecture work. Forman says the White House wants to get away from the pass-the-hat approach to funding the projects.

October 2002

OMB uses the Business Reference Model for the first time while preparing the 2004 budget proposal. By analyzing where agencies do similar work, the administration tries to identify types of systems that departments can share.

To gain a clearer picture of the federal IT landscape, OMB said it will review the business cases of all technology projects regardless of size or cost. In the past, OMB just looked at major projects worth more than $5 million.

November 2002

OMB and the CIO Council release a pair of white papers offering enterprise architecture help. OMB's document defined the technology components that managers should consider for IT projects. The council's guide outlines a planning approach for e-government systems.

December 2002

President Bush signs the E-Government Act, the most sweeping federal IT legislation since the Clinger-Cohen Act. It codifies Forman's position and office within OMB and several other of the administration's e-government initiatives such as enterprise architecture and IT security.

January 2003

The administration proposes a $59.1 billion IT budget for 2004. Included in the request is $1 billion for architecture work. Under Forman's watch, the IT budget has grown by $13 billion since 2001.

February 2003

The administration's 2004 IT request rises to $59.3 billion after further fine-tuning.

April 2003

Forman becomes the administrator for e-government and IT as required under the E-Gov Act.

OMB sets e-government strategy for 2003, laying out specific milestones for the 25 Quicksilver projects.

For 2005, agencies must submit a single business case for each set of IT projects in three areas: office automation, infrastructure and telecommunications. Each CIO must tell OMB how each area fits in with each agency's enterprise architecture.

May 2003

OMB requires agencies to tie IT projects to their enterprise architecture for the 2005 budget submissions. Forman said OMB will withhold funds unless the link to the architecture is clear.

June 2003

To help agencies prepare their 2005 budget requests, OMB releases the second version of the Business Reference Model and first version of the Service Component Reference and Technical Reference models. The BRM outlines 39 business lines and 153 lines of business. The SCRM classifies the components of software applications according to the business processes and customer services they support. The TRM lays out core standards and specifications for security, data exchange, data type, business logic and interoperability.

OMB asks agencies to refrain from buying new software until the General Services Administration sets up SmartBuy, a program to negotiate governmentwide software licenses.

July 2003

OMB asks agencies to stop buying and implementing authentication technologies until the administration settles on a governmentwide approach.

OMB directs agencies to submit business cases for joint projects in four areas: public-health monitoring, criminal investigations, human resources administration and financial management. This second generation of e-government projects will further reduce duplicative spending by more than $100 million in each area, Forman said.

August 2003

After 26 months at the helm of federal IT, Forman resigns to return to industry and moves to California to join a software start-up.

Jason Miller and Matt McLaughlin write for Government Computer News

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