After Hours

Is the U.S. government spending its tech money on the right stuff?

Larry Dignan scoured the Obama Administration's proposed budget and pulled out the interesting tech items. We discuss what he found and what's missing.

Podcast

Larry Dignan scoured the Obama Administration's proposed budget and pulled out the interesting tech items. We discuss what he found and what's missing.

The Big Question is a joint production from ZDNet and TechRepublic that I co-host with ZDNet Editor in Chief Larry Dignan.

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About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks.

9 comments
arignote
arignote

Too many of the government IT dollars go to managing IT projects and budgets. Not enough is actually spent on actual IT development workers. Managers tend to be GS-14 and 15. IT staff is GS-13 and below. I've been on projects with a management to developer staff ratio of about 6 to 1. Of the managers about 1/2 are qualified, 1/4 were qualified in 1970 and their brains are still in 1970. 1/4 just got promoted because they were friends with the right person at the right time. The 1/2 that are the least qualified try to make all the technical decisions. There are few trained as systems analysts, software architects?etc. There?s little money for technical training, but plenty of money for manager training. Ask for $100 for a few sticks of memory and there's no room in the budget. Nor is there money for licenses and equipment for an in-house evaluation of software, so we just take the vendors word at a cost of millions.

oldbaritone
oldbaritone

We've heard lots of rhetoric about "Open Government" but nowhere does it become more obvious that "one hand doesn't know what the other is doing" than in a bureaucracy. If you dig far enough, SOME agency has necessary data SOMEWHERE, but nobody talks to each other. And you can't get things accomplished because "somebody else" is responsible for the missing data. How about consolidating and normalizing government data into working, reliable INTERAGENCY databases, rather than the enormous waste of each agency doing its own IT thing, endlessly duplicating each others' work and increasing the resultant error?

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