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Avoiding eGov Failure 2

lesson 10 part 3


Avoiding eGov Failure: Ideas About Project Management

This page offers ideas about how to address one factor identified as important to the success or failure of e-government projects. Follow this link for more information about such factors (and some related case examples).

Idea 1: Use Project Management Software

Familiarise yourself with one of the common project management software packages. Even if you don't use this perfectly, it will 'set the tone' for the project. It will make project management seem tangible. It will help nudge project decision-making a little away from the subjective/personal, and a little towards the objective. It will provide diagrammatic guidance for project decisions.

(From: Richard Heeks & Olivier Nana Nzepa)

Idea 2: Move From Democrat To Autocrat

Plan the e-government project and the application design in a democratic and participative manner - taking account of all stakeholder views and seeking to achieve consensus. In moving from this design phase to the implementation phase, change from democrat to autocrat. Implementation requires listening and communication, but it can become mired in delays if everyone's view must be taken into account, and consensus always reached. Sometimes, it needs strong and authoritative leadership to push the implementation to completion.

(From: Richard Heeks)

Idea 3: Set Clear "Go/No Go" Criteria For The eGov Project

Have some guidelines for the most major decisions about the project - the decisions about whether to continue or not continue with the project. At the start, determine what criteria you will use at various decision points within the project to decide whether to proceed with the project, and whether to abandon it.

(From: Horace Mitchell)

Idea 4: Project Management Is Not The Same As Other Management

Just because Jo Bloggs can run your IT service, it does not mean that she can run your e-government project. Project managers manage projects, they don't run departments or services or systems - in fact, if a manager is good at running a department or service, s/he may well not be a good project manager (and vice versa).

(From: Horace Mitchell)

Idea 5: It's Never Too Late To Stop

Stopping an e-government project is incredibly difficult - they rapidly gather political, financial, technical and emotional momentum. However, stopping a project - even at a late stage - is often a better decision for the organisation (at least in rational terms). It may be cheaper and better to abandon the project than to "throw good money after bad". This will particularly be true IF you can use the abandoned project as a source of knowledge-building, helping you to create a better project next time round. However, this is a big "if": see Learning from eGov Failure.

(From: Horace Mitchell & Richard Heeks)

Online Resources:

UK Office of Government Commerce project management toolkit: