Another large IT project failure

Bruno Cordioli CC-BY
It seems that when studying the Higher Level ITGS topic IT Systems in Organisations, it is much easier to come across examples of IT project failures than successes.

The British National Health Service's farcical National Programme for IT, the FBI's Virtual Case File and Sentinel double-failure, and the US Air Force's recent Expeditionary Combat Support System all take their places in the pantheon of IT project disasters. 

And here is yet another contender: the Canadian Ministry of Children and Family Development's Integrated Case Management System, which CBC News reports is about to abandoned after swallowing $180 million of tax-payers money with no usable results.

The system was designed to replace 64 separate databases used by the ministry's staff - including police, social workers, and other government agencies - and allow better tracking of vulnerable children. Instead, ministry staff were quoted as saying the new system was slow, buggy, and "almost impossible to use". Reading more about the project reveals familar phrases when dealing with IT project failures, including "a lack of knowledge about the system's goals" and "insufficient resources for training".

IT project failures like these highlight the need for organisations to pay careful consideration to each phase of the Product Development Life Cycle (PDLC) and the development approach that will be taken (Waterfall or Agile).  

Similarly, project management methodologies such as SSADM (Structured Systems Analysis and Design) and PMBoK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) can be used to manage each stage of the project development and avoid many of the flaws described above. These methodologies standardize project stages and the movement between them, as well as recording information about successes and failures so that future projects can benefit from them.

You can read more about these methodologies in the free sample chapter of the ITGS textbook, which you can download or view online.

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