Charlie and I meet to decide how to handle our social care project. Already the longest-running IT implementation in Bogcaster City Council’s history, the project manager has recently suggested it will take another five years and £2m to complete.
The original business case, written so long ago that no one can find a copy, fortunately, said it would cost £200,000 and be finished in time for the millennium.
There is some doubt now about which millennium was being referred to. Anyway, the thing is becoming an embarrassment. “It works,” protested Charlie.
“Not as well as it did several years ago when we first finished it and before they started asking for amendments as an excuse for not using it, but it does work. The problem is it is supposed to be used by social workers. Most of them struggle to use an ATM. Show them a keyboard with more than 10 keys on it and they just go ga-ga.”
After a sleepless night spent worrying about our unfinished white elephant, it suddenly came to me this morning over breakfast.
Arriving at the office, I called in Charlie straight away and told him. “Problem solved – it is finished.” I said. “But it is not, they say they cannot use most of the functionality and the universal client record is just not...” “I know, I know. But all we have to do is say that it is finished. Done. A great success. Met all the objectives.” “We cannot...” “Look, if the NHS, one of the pillars of our society, can do it then so can we. I will get Mavis to draft a press release.”
The CEO congratulated me on the success of the social care project at the management board meeting this morning. “Well done. Thank God that is over” sighed the director of social work, smiling rather wanly. “We could not have done it without the co-operation and enthusiasm of your people,” I responded.
Mavis reports that a woman from the Association of Directors of Social Work has phoned. They want me to give a presentation at their conference about “implementing successful change management”. I delegated the honour to Charlie.
I have just realised that I forgot to attend the GC Explode conference yesterday. I was booked for lunch too. Someone will have eaten my dried-up chicken drumstick, strangely coloured rice salad and plastic bowl of three limp profiteroles with chocolate-flavoured sauce. And Earls Court is so attractive in June.
What an omission. I hope that Carmel Sloosedon does not get to hear about it.
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This was first published in June 2007