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.
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.
The National Audit Office (NAO) one of the few government departments not under the direct control of Gordon Browns spin machine is investigating another IT disaster, this time at the Student Loans Company.
Apparently the problems at the Loan Company started with the document scanning equipment which set off a chain of events which caused organisational meltdown. Thousands of students did not receive loans, allowances, grants on time. What makes this worse is that the technological problems which triggered this situation have not been corrected an all to familiar story.
So how will the government bury this one?
During a recent trip to the British Library I thought I would take a quick look at the recently published Standish CHAOS Survey to see if we are improving our project and programme delivery failure rates.
I have to say the results of my investigation were very positive:-
Note – In 2000 in the US, the spend on IT application development is approximately $250 billion and represents some 175000 projects. The average cost of a development project for a large company is $2,322,000; for a medium company, it is $1,331,000; and for a a small company, it is $434,000