News Column

MNLARS Progresses with 'Agile,' Internal Management

July 18, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn., July 18 -- The Minnesota Department of Public Safety issued the following news release:

To increase efficiency and keep the state's drivers licensing and vehicle registration technology project on track, the Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services Division (DVS) is expanding its use of "agile" software development and is transitioning to internal project management. DPS/DVS has sent a 30-day notice of intent to cancel its contract with Hewlett Packard (HP), and DVS and MN.IT staff will assume responsibility for project management. Additional contractors will be hired for specific tasks, if necessary. The Minnesota Licensing and Registration System (MNLARS) project is a multi-year initiative to replace DVS' 30-year-old information system. When finished, it will be an efficient, secure web-based system for driver's license, identification card, vehicle registration and ownership transactions. Development of MNLARS began in 2012 with a goal to be completed in 2016. DVS is implementing MNLARS in four phases; one is complete and another is in process:

Release 1 (completed in March) established the system framework for MNLARS. It introduced a new user authentication process and automated the way that vehicle permits are issued. Release 2 (underway) builds upon the framework developed in Release 1 to automate much of the licensing of vehicle dealerships. It includes the collection of dealer fees.

"MNLARS will improve driver and vehicle services in Minnesota," said Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman. "Our commitment is to deliver a quality licensing and registration system on-time, on-budget, and one that is superior to the 30-year old mainframe currently in operation." DVS, with the support of MN.IT Services, the state's information technology agency, is transitioning to an internal governance and oversight team that will use agile software development to complete the project. Agile is an IT development concept that takes a focused and incremental approach to building complex information infrastructure. "MN.IT's role as the project manager for this important project is in keeping with the agency's responsibilities and expertise," said State CIO and MN.IT Services Commissioner Carolyn Parnell. "We have every confidence that the progress to date, our excellent partnership with the Department of Public Safety and the adoption of the agile methodology will bring this project home successfully." DPS/DVS, after consultation with MN.IT Services, has expressed dissatisfaction with HP, especially related to quality of work, deadlines, and HP's refusal to accept technical and architectural oversight, guidance and approval. Under the contract, HP has 30 days to address the State's concerns. MNLARS Background

The Minnesota Licensing and Registration System (MNLARS) is a four-year project with a goal to be completed in 2016. It will be developed and implemented in four releases. Release1 (completed) -- System Framework, Vehicle Permit Application Release 2 (in progress) -- Finance, Dealer Licensing and Inspection Release 3 (2015) -- Driver's Licensing, Driver Compliance, Scheduling Release 4 (2016) -- Vehicle Title and Registration, Retirement of Legacy System Benefits of MNLARS Data collection activities will be simplified and automated, increasing the accuracy of data capture and improving data integrity. MNLARS will link 6.4 million vehicle records with 4.1 million driver records. Minimizing duplicate data-entry will streamline business processes and allow faster production of titles and licenses. Access to the system will be specific to the user's needs, improving security and reducing opportunities for fraud. Most data exchanges will be accomplished in near-real time, eliminating system "downtime" while records update; DVS business partners, law enforcement and customers will have up-to-date information. Budget MNLARS is funded primarily through the technology surcharge authorized by the Legislature and applied to most driver's license and vehicle transactions. The technology surcharge sunsets at the end of June in 2016. Total Budget for MNLARS Project$93 million Expenditures as of June 1, 2014$32.2 million

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Source: Targeted News Service

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