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Why do Public Sector IT projects fail


e-Government @large considers why public sector IT projects fail and answers, in part at least, because “delivery” has traditionally been an under-valued skill in government
There is no “fast stream” route to the top for delivery people – find me a permanent secretary (a far more vital position than it sounds, for you US readers, this is someone who is at the very top of the civil service tree) who has actually delivered real projects – IT or otherwise. For all their skills, the perm secs have not done that, nor have the deputy perm secs or anyone else at the top of the tree. So, when you’re young and aspiring to the top, you don’t go into a delivery route because there is no way up. Glass ceiling? More like rock solid cave ceiling….Lessons like this from the inside track are valuable enough, but on a day when Kablenet reports that “close to 100 bids were submitted from suppliers looking to work on the £2.3bn NHS IT infrastructure” (including – worryingly – “all the ususal suspects” who have soaked up so much public money with so little succesful delivery) and the MOD is about to begin an even bigger £5bn / 10-year procurement exercise, they appear even more important.

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