Study: Implementing the Federal IT Dashboard for the NYC Department of Transportation


For the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), New Amsterdam Ideas performed a feasibility study aimed at helping DOT develop its own IT Dashboard modeled after the Federal IT Dashboard, a web-based management tool used to help oversee and reduce information technology costs. The original Federal IT Dashboard was built at a cost of $1.3 million as a management tool for evaluating their spending related to the federal governments's $75 billion-plus IT portfolio. The Federal IT Dashboard helped CIOs at federal agencies answer questions such as, "Where are our IT dollars going?" and "Are we getting value from our investments?" Since its launch in June 2009, the White House reports that the "has helped us shine a light on IT projects, providing performance data to fuel TechStat reviews, which have led to over $3 billion in cost reductions." The DOT wanted a similar tool for IT projects related to New York City's transportation system, but had a much smaller budget with which to build it.

Fortunately, the Drupal code used to Federal IT Dashboard has been released as open source software. DOT hired Nuams to evaluate the codebase for the Federal Dashboard to determine what it would cost to adapt it for DOT's needs. Nuams' Chief Technology Officer, Sheldon Rampton, developed a detailed breakdown of the functionality provided by the federal dashboard and a specification for rewriting it to meet DOT's requirements.

One of the challenges encountered during the feasibility review is that the data format used to collect information about IT projects into the federal dashboard is a complex XML schema which is very different from the data format used to collect information by the DOT. Sheldon therefore proposed rebuilding significant components of the website using already-existing standard Drupal modules to reduce costs. Nuams then circulated a requirements breakdown to selected Drupal developers to collect estimates for the time and cost required to build each component. These estimates were then aggregated using the three-point estimation technique to provide DOT with a statistically meaningful cost estimate and a plan for building a website appropriate to DOT's needs at a cost of roughly $50,000.   

Download the final report here.

Blog Author

  • Nuams' co-founder and CEO, Andrew Hoppin previously served as Chief Information Officer of the New York State Senate from January 2009-January 2011. There, he led the successful effort to deploy...

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