Lessons Learned?

This sidebar is part of the feature article "Her Majesty's Flying IT Circus"

In a report released in January, the House of Commons' Select Committee on Public Accounts examined 25 government IT projects that did not work and came up with project management lessons from each, including

- Planners need to have clear project objectives and milestones.

- Projects that are part of an overall strategy must clearly fit together, and those implementing the separate projects must understand this clearly.

- Carefully examine the full implications of introducing changes to IT systems, including the impact of any policy changes (like passport laws) that may affect demand for services.

- Contingency plans are essential to cover the risk that the system won't be delivered on time.

- Planners should consider whether programs with sweeping goals might be too ambitious to attempt in one project.

- Arrangements with subcontractors should include terms with both incentives to reach project goals and penalties if they don't.

- Delays in implementing projects place them at risk of being overtaken by technological developments.

Copyright © 2000 IDG Communications, Inc.

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