Sign my petition to the PM to demand the UK Govt. reviews it’s failed IT processes

The Independent newspaper recently reported that the UK government has wasted £26 billion of it’s tax payers money on IT projects which have, “run millions of pounds over budget or have been cancelled altogether”.

£26 billion!

Of the projects mentioned in the article I’ve particularly been following the massive NHS balls up for some time and it’s quite clear that most of the reasons it has failed so badly can be attributed to following Waterfall type project management processes, dooming these behemoth’s to failure from the outset. The only value these projects are delivering is lining the pockets of companies like BT and Fujitsu who’ve landed most of the contracts for this work. There’s no doubt that most of the other cash sink holes mentioned suffer from the same problems* (it was the UK government that created PRINCE2 project management after all).

I find this totally unacceptable, especially when we now know that there are now well-established alternative approaches to the way these projects are managed which would have likely saved the tax payer an absolute fortune.

Keith Braithwaite has also blogged his views about the Government IT failures here.

I’ve created a petition on the Number10 website asking the Prime Minister to  demand a review of the out-of-date manner in which government IT projects are undertaken. I urge you to sign it and Tweet, blog, Facebook this to everyone you know**:

Thank you.

Update: If you don’t think it’s worth signing as it will have no impact have a look at this article on the BBC about the UK Goverment’s support for IE6

*Ironically the National Audit Office are currently producing a (delayed) report on the NHS IT project. They still advocate the Waterfall Approach according to this document found here. XtC members are in the process of writing to them about this. That letter can be found here.

**UK residents only. I ‘ve been involved in these petitions in the past and if they get enough support they do get responded to.

5 thoughts on “Sign my petition to the PM to demand the UK Govt. reviews it’s failed IT processes

  1. Nic Wise

    Sounds very much like the NZ Police INCIS system, which IBM “developed” in the mid 90’s, I think.

    Wow, it even has a wikipedia page:

    That said, aren’t these systems on the same scale as the original “XP” project, which Kent Beck and co came up with XP from – and wasn’t that, um, less than successful? (tho we could argue that XP coming out of it was worth the money…..)

    Maybe the problem is more that the risk on a large IT project is high – very very high. XP is going to mitigate that somewhat, and waterfall is going to make it worse, but even half of a huge risk is still a really big risk.

    Maybe that needs to be addressed – smaller projects, no replace everything ones. But then the big players dont make as much money, because their “advantage” over smaller, leaner software houses is gone.

  2. Nick Oostvogels

    I’ve given this a lot of though as well. According to me, one of the major issues that lie at the root of these failures is their annual budgetting process. This pushes them into a waterfall approach, where everything needs to be poored into a nice fixed price contract up front. Changes are not allowed, because we need to fit into the budget. On the other hand, there’s no rush to work more efficient, because eventual leftovers will not be rewarded. Spend it on something else or they will be gone. If we can’t change this, agile will always be hard to sell to government.

  3. Mike Dorey

    Hi There

    Nick Oostvogels sums up the situation perfectly. And bear in mind that this isn’t confined to government: It’s the way many companies and organisations operate as well.

  4. Pingback: rob bowley - adventures in software craftsmanship » Blog Archive » A call to action to UK software developers to stop your money being wasted

  5. Pingback: E-petition for better UK government procurement of IT | Domain Driven Design using Naked Objects

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