Technology failures grow all too common in government projects

The Obama administration has tried to confront the problem, appointing top technology officers who scrapped and consolidated some flagging projects and pushed for more agile procedures. But the reforms have been modest.

Last month, President Obama acknowledged that the administration had not been able to fix a procurement system that he said was “just generally not very efficient.”

“In fact, there’s probably no bigger gap between the private sector and the public sector than IT,” he said.

Experts point out that troubled information technology projects aren’t unusual in private companies either. But the government’s problems, involving taxpayer money, are pervasive and add up to billions in waste. Washington will spend more than $76 billion this year on information technology. A federal report in January found that 700 projects, accounting for $12.5 billion, were in trouble.