Ian Watmore, Head of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, was before the Public Accounts Committee last month and in a recent article from ComputerWeekly he talked openly and frankly about what is going wrong with public sector IT projects.
Here’s a highlight of where they’ve been going wrong:
- Too many initiatives on the go at any one time
- Wasting money hiring external consultants
- Keeping alive failing projects which should be stopped early and cheaply
- Opposition to change, especially in the diversity of hiring, ex private sector employees have to “fight against the machine” to fit in the public sector world
- Translation of policies from Whitehall to the front line of project delivery – there needs to be an understanding of the problems of implementation
- Key delivery staff are not in the job long enough to see the project through to completion
- Delivery staff are not experienced enough – especially lacking are people who have been round the block a few times and the issue of succession planning when key staff move off projects
“The biggest surprise of the hearing came when Watmore agreed with Conservative MP Richard Bacon that Gateway reviews should be published”, now that should make for interesting reading should that initiative ever come to fruition. Of course the other viewpoint would be, would the gateway reviews be open and honest or just doctored for public viewing?
Interesting article that doesn’t necessarily tell us anything new but aren’t all these things fixable? How many more months, years of project failure does the government need before focusing on the factors above? It sounds like the guy in charge is making inroads but ultimately is the government too much of a giant beast to change?
Be interested to hear your thoughts?