AC @11:58 can't have worked on a major central Government contract. Much as I loathe companies like CSC, Crapita and their ilk, I can't blame them for the failings of the civil service. From personal experience (ex-civil servant myself, left because I couldn't stand the incompetence any longer) the following takes place on every procurement:
1. Someone has a good idea, which get approved for study (only if there seems to be political capital made by the relevant minister of course)
2. Highly expensive consultants are brought in to carry out the study - the powers the be can't trust the people who actually thought of the idea in the first place, as they are mere civil servants (cheap = nbg in their minds). Consultants think up a few extras & add them in.
3. A massive requirements document is created, that goes all the way down to the font preferred but leaves large functional areas vague & able to be interpreted in many ways
4. Bids are requested and are evaluated based to a large degree on buzz words, existence of current contracts (not track record & quality, just number), and whether they can arrange a reference site visit in a hot country
5. Contract is awarded
6. Someone says "X would be quite nice" and X is added to the requirement without any impact assessment being carried out. Rinse & repeat about 25 times
7. Supplier prototypes their interpretation of the vague requirements - customer actually wanted a different interpretation
8. New delivery dates and costs calculated - already running 2 years late & £1 bn over budget and design not even completed
9. User steering group formed - can't actually agree on anything, as all have their own preferred way of doing things currently and won't accept anything that doesn't exactly mirror their existing processes
10. Supplier asked to produce something that can do everything the steering group asks for, yes including 15 ways of carrying out the same task
I could carry on, but I think you get the message!