105 facts about government IT contracts that send shudders down your spine

With the government spending review due this week I thought a link sent to me by a reader could become a great reference document. Thanks for that Matt.

Click here for the link is to a report by the European Services Strategy Unit. It will make you realise why there is often so much anger amongst IT professionals when it comes to government IT.

Completed in 2007, it reports on 105 government ICT projects which cost more than they should, overran or were terminated. Or even all three. Take a look there is a list of all 105 and some explanation
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The 105 projects were valued at £29.5bn cost almost £9bn more than the original value.

The contract values “did not include the cost of project planning, business case preparation or the cost of the procurement process. They also exclude the cost of management and technical, financial and legal consultants, which can run into millions of pounds,” said the report. So add all this in and you have even bigger numbers because consultants don’t come cheap.

There are some particularly scary revelations. A contract between EDS and the Inland Revenue went from costing just over £1bn to costing nearly £2.5bn (number 7 on the list in the link.)

A total of 60 programmes had cost overruns and on average cost about 30% more than they should have.

35 contracts were delayed and 31 cancelled.

Take a look where your tax money has gone. It is not just the banks.

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I've recently completed my PRINCE 2 Project Managers qualification and believe the course was inspired (and is owned) by the government to improve standards in project management.

One reason that so many government projects failed is that they failed to apply the very principles of PRINCE 2 - their own standard.

Projects should have some sort of governance (outside of political control) that forces adherence to these basic principles.

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