An MP has revealed that a single Department for Work and Pensions project is responsible for £169m cost overruns. The project, which is intended to help improve customer service and deliver efficiencies, was planned for completion in March 2007. It is now scheduled to be finished in 2010 or 2011, and cost £598m rather than the …
A very select and priviledged few are being paid quite obscene amounts of money to "manage" these projects, budgets and departments. It seems, however, that an ability to actual do the job is of secondary importance to knowing how to pass the buck when everything goes pear-shaped. Looking more closely at the figures one might be forgiven for thinking that an ability to do the job has now become a severe handicap to obtaining the post. Given that the financial reward and extra incentives offered to attract the right "callibre" of applicant to these types of position, might it not now be prudent to bill them the difference... for failing to deliver.
The problems with estimates
What I'd be interested in knowing is exactly what caused the differences between the initial project estimates and the eventual outcomes.
It could be that the people running the projects are all completely useless and that the projects are all a shambles.
On the other hand, it could be that the projects are run fine and it is the crapness of the original estimates that give rise to the discrepancies.
Let's not forget that a key way of getting large projects authorised is to deliberately underestimate the initial costs & timescales in the knowledge that by the time the customers find out what it's really going to cost, it'll be too late and they can't can the project for fear of looking foolish.
In addition to crap projects and crap estimates, we have the issue of crap customers, i.e. the ones that change their minds every 10 minutes and act surprised when it turns out that this affects the project costs. How much of these DWP overruns were caused by change control items?
There's a lot more to all of this than meets the eye. Perhaps you professional journalists out there could find out and tell us.
And they can't spare 2.5M for a historic, unique, invaluable Radio Astronomy network
The problem with large projects arises when the client keeps changing the original specification. I have known large projects that were done on time and to the estimate because nobody changed anything.This was much to the annoyance of the contracting company, who put in a low bid and lost money, as they was hoping to recoup money on alterations to the contract.
Central Payments System - Update
See this: DWP fires Siemens from late project