Saturday, September 21, 2002

VNUnet publishes an article by Mike Cross (he of ex-Kable editorship) on 'why public sector IT projects go wrong'. He notes the view of the OECD, "Unless governments learn to manage the risks connected with large public IT projects, these e-dreams will turn into global nightmares," it warned last year". I don't think that's new. The OGC's gate review process and the earlier SPRITE initiative in the UK, more than 2 years ago, noted what needed to be done and the word is that the right things are being done now. Right after the Government Gateway project I listed the key lessons that needed to be learnt if projects were going to work - and used the same slide in a lot of presentations hoping to get the message across. A couple of the lessons are noted below. I want to revisit this and will post here some updates: - The decision process needs to be rapid, focused and flexible. Decisions made one day can be changed the next day - there is not usually the time to wait for the next 'project board'. No project can be successful unless the team can respond to changing circumstances. - Fast decisions need rigorous communication processes. Changing the plan regularly or even occasionally needs to be coupled with a process that makes sure everyone knows what has moved, why and what the next checkpoint is.

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