New BCS forums invite IT workers to have their say

The three new BCS forums are setting their agendas and are identifying key issues at the initial meetings of their management...

The three new BCS forums are setting their agendas and are identifying key issues at the initial meetings of their management committees. They now want both BCS members and non-members to get involved, writes John Kavanagh.

The Engineering and Technology Forum aims to address the challenging issue of why major IT projects fail.

"There is considerable evidence that only a small percentage of major software projects succeed, in the sense of delivering what was expected, roughly to time and to budget," says John McDermid, BCS vice-president, engineering and technology.

"While there is consensus on the symptoms of the problem, there has been less of a coherent view on the underlying causes of the problems, and on potential solutions. We want to help address this problem by trying to clarify the fundamental causes of project failures and to address aspects of the problem that are within the BCS' sphere of responsibility."

The Management Forum is keen to initiate work on management skills using the existing Industry Structure Model - the BCS' set of standards for IT roles - and the Skills Framework for the Information Age, which is managed by the E-Skills National Training Organisation. It feels that these could be developed and promoted by the forum as a skills framework for both individuals and employers.

In addition, the Management Forum has begun to develop a model of career paths and advancement which it feels could be applied to all aspiring IT managers. It could also complement initiatives from other organisations, such as the Cranfield and Henley management schools.

The Education and Training Forum took part in the British Education Training and Technology exhibition last month and has identified issues in all education sectors that it wants to start addressing. These include staff development, investment in further education, e-learning skills, lifelong learning and development awards recognition.

All the forums see a need to involve and help people in their fields through work on career paths, career planning, and professional development.

The issues already identified by the forums will in time be adjusted to meet the needs and perceptions of their participants.

About 200 people have already registered for the forums. They will soon be contacted individually with further details of the initial programmes and the dedicated Web space allocated to each forum.

BCS members and non-members can register for the forums via - where there is also more information - or by contacting Michelle Davies at [email protected]

Who is leading the new BCS forums?
The BCS vice-president, education and training, is Lesley Beddie, who recently moved from academia to be communications director of the Scottish parliament.

The vice-president, management, is Rachel Burnett, originally a programmer and now a partner and IT solicitor at law firm Bristows.

The vice-president, engineering and technology, is John McDermid, professor of software engineering at York University.

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