Re: Public administration's seem systemically
To be fair the private sector is almost as bad, or worse in some examples! I think the problem in all cases boils down to unrealistic or overly optimistic planning. I've worked for a system integrator in the past and any project where one or more of the following is true will nearly always be more complicated than it first appears:
1) The system/application is used by more than 20 users or more than one department
2) The system/application is used directly by customers
3) The system/application is required to interface with more than two internal systems/applications
4) The project requires the cooperation of two or more third party companies.
"The business" or "the government" would often be put off embarking on a project if the true cost was revealed up front which enforces overly optimistic estimation, or in fact there may be a naive project manager who simply doesn't know how to properly estimate the project (this is worrying common).
The net result is you often end up with one of the following:
1) Massive cost/time over runs (most common)
2) Project being abandoned with lots of money effectively down the drain. Prepare for another attempt in a couple of years when the scars have healed!
3) Project delivered but with so much functionality de-scoped the original business case may not stand up. "Phase 2" then gets mooted but never happens, or a new project to replace the half baked deliverable begins.
This is a big problem for IT to overcome. I think the main causes are the shortage of 1) technical people who can provide proper estimates and 2) managers who ignore those estimates or massage them to make an acceptable business case!