VA's Baker revels in job to turnaround IT processes

Tuesday - 9/28/2010, 4:34pm EDT

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September 30, 2010 -- Roger Baker said he has the best job in government. The Veterans Affairs Department's assistant secretary for information and technology and chief information officer probably has one of the most difficult ones too.

He has spent much of the past year trying to corral hundreds of technology projects, many of which were in trouble. Baker said now about 81 percent of the 100 or so projects meet their milestones on time. This is up from an estimated 33 percent previously.

Baker also said all technology projects are focused on 6-month deliverables, which are tracked on a dashboard on a daily basis.

All of this has led to a major culture change inside VA. Baker said project managers, the CIO's office and the business process owners all understand their role in the VA's accountability structure.

Now that the IT projects are under control, Baker said he continues to focus on cybersecurity and by the end of September will have software that shows the health of the network down to the desktop level.