MPs bitchslap MoD mega-IT architecture project

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by msr, Jan 15, 2009.

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  1. msr

    msr LE

  2. meridian

    meridian LE Good Egg (charities)

    Thanks MSR, that's an interesting read.

    Thats the problem with these massive IT projects, they tend to over promise and under deliver. It seems it would be much better to take achievable steps over a longer period of time rather than constantly having revolutions every 5 minutes
  3. In my experience one of the main problems is that the senior staff who are supposed to oversee these projects for the client seldom have any real idea what it all means and default to "managing" on the basis of outputs from project managers who are themselves either hopelessly conflicted or just craven toerags. It has all become a ritual dance.

    I have seen a number of project management teams in all manner of places whose sole interest is in meeting milestones, deliverables and making sure there are as few red lights as possible. Real issues with vast knock on effects got buried in the primary task telling their masters/clients only happy things. So when it all turned to sh1t senior beings can look at each other in innocent wonder and ask "How can this be??"

    It can be because they (knowingly) preside over a paper understanding of very complex projects that is based on a reporting system where difficult issues and messages tend to have the rough edges smoothed off, sanded to a fine finish, three layers of varnish applied, mounted on a plinth and put in a sealed glass display case before being put before the Steering Committee.

    So the end result is something appears wonderful but, did they dare to take it out and scratch the surface, might immediately be revealed as a highly polished turd.

    Of course far too many people on such august Committees know that and would never do so. Thus mistakes are repeated and people continue express themselves content on the basis of collective structured moral cowardice because they feel that no blame can ever attach to them.

    One of the most helpful and proactive project managers I ever came across was dismissed from the team because he was "negative". He was in fact merely relaying the uncomfortable truth that the project he had been asked to take over was incapable of being delivered to spec. on time with the existing budget and resources.

    His replacement ( a nasty little self interested shite) then produced Happy Happy reports which said all was well. So all were thus content, until became clear on rollout that the product was still in development and wholly unfit for purpose. It really is quite depressing.
  4. Alsacien

    Alsacien LE Moderator

    2000 sites was always going to be a 'mare - someone should have run that as an infrastructure programme in its own right.
    Why are they not using COTS products? Bespoke development for that number of terminals is a support 'mare even if rollout went well.

    Poor decision to do a combined infrastructure/development/big rollout programme. 3 chickens instead of egg/chick/chicken.
  5. Wasn't the universaly despised pay system a COTS solution (or heavily modified)? Thus leading to lots of terminology and civvie orientated systems that made little or no sense to either the soldiers or the poor pay clerks who initially run it and then weren't needed (apparently).

    Big IT systems fail in most government departments - see Health, InlandRevenue etc. It is just a bit irritating to hear politicians being so smug and clever after the event. Any large project has Ministerial scrutiny yet they never want to accept responsibility - they are always happy to stick their oar in though if there is party political advantage or a local constituency impact. (Applies to both parties)

    Equally galling is that when one of the favoured IT company fails, it never seems to stop them picking up another contract with the same or another government department. Sponsoring a conference or backing the campaign of a politician always seems to smooth the water.