IT projects - links to reports on mistakes, incompetence and lessons learned

There are many reports on the lessons learned from failed and successful IT projects. Here are some of the more important reports. Most of the examples are from the public sector but many of the lessons apply also to private sector projects.

Underestimating complexity and the genetically similar “being too optimistic about what can be achieved in a reasonable time period” – or in some cases any time period – feature heavily as common contributory causes in IT-related projects and programmes that fail to meet expectations.

Those who routinely read reports and board minutes on failures, may also find it disconcerting to note how regularly new IT-based change programmes are started without anyone in authority answering diligently the basic question: If we thought through the full effect of planned changes on staff, working practices and the business would we really go ahead with this?”

1) National Audit Office – Delivering successful IT-enabled business change 17 November 2006 – See Page 15 for “Nine Key Questions for departments embarking on IT-enabled business change.” here

2) Successful IT – here

3) Identity and Passport Service – Report on Key Projects Implemented in 2006 19th December 2006 – here

4) National Audit Office: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and Rural Payments Agency. Delays in Administering the 2005 Single Payment Scheme in England 18 October 2006 – here

5) Improving IT procurement – The impact of the Office of Government Commerce’s initiatives on

departments and suppliers in the delivery of major IT-enabled projects – 2 November 2004

See page 4 for Common causes of failure in IT-enabled projects – here

6) Getting IT right – here

7) Achieving value for money in the delivery of public services – 30 November 2005. Committee of Public Accounts – here

8) The Libra project National Audit Office AO report – New IT systems for Magistrates’ Courts: the Libra project – 29 January 2004 – here

9) National Audit Office: Department for Work and Pensions – Child Support Agency,

Implementation of the Child Support Reforms – 30 June 2006 – here