NAO tells public sector how to avoid IT fiascos

The National Audit Office has published a report on how central government and the general public sector can plan and manage major IT projects.

The National Audit Office has published a report on how central government and the general public sector can plan and manage major IT projects.

The report is designed to help project management teams avoid the IT fiascos that have consistently plagued government IT projects over recent years.

The report also gives a wide range of examples of public sector projects that have been successfully rolled out. The examples include projects undertaken by the private sector, including one by Norwich Union.

To avoid problems, the NAO lists nine questions which department managers must consider before embarking on major IT projects.

These include: is the board able to make informed judgements about the department’s capacity to manage change, and does the department have in place a decision making structure that will ensure strong and effective leadership of the IT-enabled business change?

In addition, what incentives exist to drive performance, and does the department have the necessary programme management skills?

The NAO also said departments must ask what is the natural division of duties between the programme and project management centre of excellence and the chief information officer, and how will the department establish and promote an open and constructive relationship with suppliers?

In addition, departments must consider how clear they are about the business process they are seeking to change or develop, and does the technology really exist to deliver the change?

Finally, departments should ask themselves, beyond immediate technical success, how will wider benefits be secured?

The full report can be accessed here:
http://www.nao.org.uk/publications/nao_reports/06-07/060733es.pdf


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