One of the big complaints about the Conservatives in recent weeks has been a growing concern about their lack of policy. I believe this is very much a real issue for the Tories and in some ways I believe they have been unfairly slated. To be fair the other parties are just as bad and aren’t showing their policy cards either. At the moment politics seems to be all about themes and no substance. However, state IT reform is an area where the Conservatives have clearly revealed some excellent Government IT policy intentions.
Today I decided to call Conservative Central Office and see if I could get details of the Conservatives IT policy. I have to say the policy statement I received was clearly drafted by someone with real world knowledge and experience of the problems which have faced government IT procurement in recent years. The policy explained to me was published in their draft document called “Delivering Change” which sets out a draft version of their approach to government IT. This was officially adopted as party policy in December 2009. Fantastic! the policies if implemented are exactly what the IT industry the Project Management profession and the State Deficit need with little downside :-
I have been reading over the last few weeks a number of blog articles concentrating on the popular question “Why is the Project and Programme Management profession so lacking in professionalism and capability ?”. Well I have to say having been involved in a Project / Programme Management recruitment programme for one of the big 5 for a year I was surprised to find some not so obvious answers to this question.
To start with our interview and selection statistics were as follows:-
About 25% of applicants failed to answer a standard domain knowledge assessment questionnaire and only 5% of those that passed this part of the interview and selection process actually passed the following scenario based interview where they were required to put together a realistic and achievable Project Management Delivery Solution. The scenario interviews were in my view and my colleagues a really eye opener and perhaps explained why so many IT projects fail each year.
Last week I had a coffee with an old friend and we got onto the subject of P3O and how important this APMG qualification is currently and how overtime it is only going to become more important as the numbers of organisations setting-up or considering the set-up of Project Office’s, Programme Office’s or Portfolio Office’s (P3O) increases.
The growing problem at the moment is a shortage of experienced PO professionals available for recruitment combined with the lack of a comprehensive best practice book / methodology to make these ambitions a reality. In my view such a book should try to answer the following questions:-
- How to write a PO business case?
- How to sell a PO business case?
- How to design a PO?
- What are the different PO models together with their Pros and Cons?
- Are there any PO methodologies.?
- What are the different PO processes and sub processes?
- How do you embed PO processes?
- Strategic issues surrounding PO success and failure?
- What really world PO cases studies are around to support answers to the above?
I just read this morning of a land mark legal case between BSkyB and EDS which is set to change the way IT Projects are run in the future.
The Technology and Construction Court found in favour of BSKYB following the company’s five-year battle with EDS over a failed customer relationship management (CRM) system. The case is the most expensive legal dispute in the history of the IT Industry, costing both sides an estimated £40m each. I have to say with 70% IT Project failure rates (please see CHAOS survey ) it is a surprise we have not seen a case like this earlier. It is extremely rare for an IT supplier to be accused of fraudulent misrepresentation and even rarer for a supplier to be found guilty of it. Make no mistake this is a landmark decision which in my view will give rise to suppliers reviewing sales techniques (no longer will project managers be a salesman’s flunky), contractual arrangements and what is presented to customers in terms of their capabilities, services and products. Oversell and a supplier’s days could be numbered.
I heard recently that Barclays Bank is going to bring its IT Application Development in-house after deciding not to renew its £400m IT Outsourcing Agreement with Accenture.
This means that some 230 staff who moved to Accenture as part of the original outsourcing deal struck in 2004 are now on their way back to Barclays. I understand that the reasons for Barclay’s refusal to renew the contract were “entirely commercial”. However, it is important to note that this in source decision comes on the back of a strategic review of Barclays and the adoption of the best model to support their strategic needs going forward. This perhaps suggests something wider was taken into consideration when deciding not to continue their IT outsourcing partnership with Accenture.
I have to say IT insourcing seems to be a more common trend these days. Only recently Prudential insourced it’s IT development back from Cap Gemini. However, one thing seems to be a common thread to all these insourcing arrangements is the reasons for doing so are always vague and benign to all involved.