Case Study

Department of the Treasury: Budget Formulation & Execution Manager (BFEM) – More Bang for Your Buck

Key Findings

  • Employing RUP in conjunction with the PMBOK, and CMMI Level 2 process areas delivers project management efficiencies
  • By maintaining a project risk log that is updated and submitted to the client every week, risks are minimized, ensuring project stability
  • An effective communications plan ensures transparency and visibility into program progress and helps drive timely and accurate communication with BFEM stakeholders
  • Industry best practices, open standards, and technology agnosticism help make certain that BFEM will not fall into obsolescence

Challenge

Treasury and other government agencies previously relied on spreadsheets and word processing programs to assemble highly complex budget and performance documents, which led to improper data storage and poor data quality. In addition, the labor intensive editing effort required significant overtime and prevented the conduct of value-added budget analysis. To that end, Treasury created the Budget Formulation and Execution Manager (BFEM)—a web-based application that allows government agencies to formulate their budgets and track budget performance measures. This multi-agency application provides an effective budgeting tool to its customers at a much lower cost than an independently implemented system. The BFEM system had its initial beginnings in June 2005 when the Treasury Department used it to manage its Department-wide budget formulation process. In late 2006 and early 2007, Treasury worked with the Budget Formulation and Execution Line of Business (BFELoB) to make BFEM available to other agencies and broaden its functionality to include the tracking of program performance measures. Since that time, eight other cabinet-level agencies and five independent agencies have subscribed the system, saving the government millions of dollars in development and labor costs.

Solution

TCG’s involvement with BFEM began in September 2009 when we were contracted to conduct an overhaul and upgrade of the BFEM system to meet the new technical and business needs of the growing system and user community. We provide the management oversight and new development work on the BFEM project, including project management, systems architecture, application development, quality assurance, and certification and accreditation support, and we lead all team efforts in these areas.  The operations and maintenance support of the legacy BFEM tool is performed by a different contractor, with TCG ensuring both efforts remain in sync.

  • We use RUP to develop BFEM 2.0, managed in accordance with Project Management Institute best practices, as embodied in the PMBOK, and CMMI Level 2 process areas.
  • The project benefits from the participation of two subcontractors, both of whom provide specific, named subject matter experts who are completely integrated into the TCG team.
  • We employ rigid risk management by maintaining a project risk log that is updated and submitted to the client every week.
  • TCG reports to the BFEM Governance Board and liaises with the BFEM Architecture Board to ensure the program direction is appropriately vetted, understood, and implemented.
  • We understand the importance of timely and accurate communication with the many BFEM stakeholders and have implemented a communication plan to ensure transparency and visibility into progress. Additionally, all project status reports and deliverables are available to the BFELoB via the OMB MAX Federal Community site.
  • We embrace relevant open standards based solutions while adhering to industry best practices. Our goal is to ensure that BFEM leverages vendor-neutral toolsets and platforms to be more interoperable with systems within OMB and beyond.
  • TCG is developing a database-agnostic solution leveraging object-relational mapping technology and a highly scalable application server platform (JBoss), to satisfy future capacity requirements.

Results

  • To date, we have provided 100% on-time submission of every project deliverable.
  • When faced with an unanticipated critical enhancement request from the stakeholders, we conduct scope analysis to fully assess the impact of the change of direction, and make the necessary changes in team composition and skill set to complete the task on time and within budget.

Taxpayer Savings: $14,400,000

For every project, TCG tracks the savings generated by innovation in methods and technologies. BFEM has saved the US taxpayer over $14 million. Twelve additional agencies have signed agreements to use the tool, thereby eliminating duplicative investments in stove-piped systems.