Dept. of Veterans' AffairsThe Department of Veterans affairs has seen tremendous benefit from their new digital system for processing disability claims, which was developed using Agile methods — but the high price tag for continuing incremental development is causing concern for lawmakers, according to NextGov.

The Veterans Benefits Management System , unlike most big-budget IT projects that often fail before going live, actually launched ahead of schedule and has helped the agency reduce their backlog of disability claims significantly.

From the article:

“VBMS is different because we use what we refer to as agile,” said Dawn Bontempo, director of the Veterans Benefits Management System program management office. “And that means that we can release software every three months and bring high-value functionality to the field as quickly as possible to serve our veterans.”

But watchdogs like the Government Accountability Office say that prices for the project have far surpassed estimates and there seems to be no clear plan for checking costs going forward.

VA has yet to produce a plan that identifies when VBMS will be completed, testified Valerie Melvin, director of information management at GAO.

“Thus, the department lacks an effective means to hold management accountable for meeting a timeframe and demonstrating progress on completing the system,” Melvin testified.

Full article: Lawmakers blast $1.3 billion price tag for VA’s ‘agile’ paperless claims system | NextGov