Gubbmint IT projects have their own playbook, and it's almost the direct opposite of how sane development works. In the real world, you work out what the website has to do, make the best estimates of throughput you can, add in some contingency and ensure the architecture is scalable, design the interfaces for the payment, warehousing and transport systems, implement a decent security layer and separation of concerns and so on. Then, with a fairly comprehensive set of requirements, off you go.
Now in gubbmint, first of all, a minister bumps their gums in public about how the new shiny will go live on date X. Just to emphasise the importance, they do so in the House of Commons, which means it's recorded in Hansard. Then they pass it on to their minions, who giggle 'bananaaaa' and set up a Senior Manglement Team, a Steering Committee, a Stakeholder Forum, a Supplier Management Review Group and a Procurement Executive. This all takes time to put together - must get this right, old boy, as it's a Ministerial commitment, don't y'know - so some time is taken up with assigning people, synchronising diaries and debating terms of reference for each group. Then it goes up to the Minister for approval. Once that's been obtained The Plan is assembled using the Great Hammer of Microsoft Project.
Next step is to Gather All Ye Requirements. As all stakeholders must be consulted, a few months are
burnedspent on workshops that rapidly turn into either meandering debates or turf wars. Technology allows these to be done via con-calls so that half the attendees dial in, go on mute and play on Facebook, while half the rest are mumblers who can't express themselves clearly.
With the workshops concluded, the next step is to assemble a set of requirements that make the Chequers Brexit plan look like a model of clarity. But hey, there are the requirements, so they're cut 'n' pasted into a tender document. In order a provide full transparency, a different font is used, and redacted text is included.
Off they go to tender and a couple of months later, a shortlist of bidders is invited to present their solutions. While all les grandes fromages are being seduced by the glittering PowerPoint, the minion assigned to monitor The Plan opens it one morning and cries "bananaaa!" in horror as the dates all turn red. Off they go to raise the alarm. Les grandes fromages yell at the minion for speaking truth to power and then convey an emergency meeting to review the situation. As it's so urgent, people are flown in business-class from all over the country. A locked-doors session then ensues.
GF1: How did we get to this point?
GF2: It's just not acceptable.
Minion: We fixed the end date and we've used up a lot of time in requirements gathering.
GF3: Why didn't you tell us before now? For God's sake.
Minion: I did. You all get highlight reports each week.
GF1: Oh, is that what they were. Well, really. You should have escalated it.
GF2: Absolutely. It's just not acceptable.
Minion: I did. You asked me to refer it to the Steering Committee.
GF3: They haven't met for some time. Pressures of other work, it seems.
Minion: Nobody told me that.
GF1: Well, what are we going to do? Have you got any bright ideas?
GF2. You'd better come up with something. It's just not acceptable.
Minion: We might be able to deliver a Minimum Viable Product if we cut a few corners.
GF3: What on earth is a Minimum Viable Product?
Minion: It's usually shortened to MVP.
GF1: Oh, MVP. Well, why didn't you say so? Best get on with it then.
GF2: Agreed. The current situation is just not acceptable.
GF3: OK, off you go then.
The meeting breaks up and eventually an MVP is delivered six months late by a DevOps team using Agile methodology. However, as all the budget's been used up, the MVP becomes the end product.
That's how you piss 350 million up the wall. Those stakeholder workshops need attendees and options papers don't write themselves. But hey, why should the GFs care? They're sitting pretty under the shelter of the magic money tree.