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Avoiding eGov Failure 3

lesson 10 part 4


Avoiding eGov Failure: Ideas About Change 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: Your Project Must Ask And Answer The "What's In It For Me?" Question For All Key Stakeholders

Key stakeholders - funders, managers, operators, users, clients, etc - must support (passively or, ideally, actively) the e-government project. For any human to support a project, that project must align with at least some of their personal goals and values. Put more simply, the e-government project must provide each stakeholder with at least some positive answer to the question we all ask of any project: "What's in it for me?". The process of change management must ensure that this question is asked for all key stakeholders, and the answer incorporated into the project design or implementation process.

In Gujarat state in India, efforts were being made to roll out a wide area network. The project management process asked the "What's in it for me?" question on behalf of key stakeholders. The answer was: "Free access to email", "Free access to the Web and Internet", and "Free access to long-distance, inter-agency telephony". These answers were incorporated into project design, leading to high levels of project acceptance and use: far higher than could have been achieved through training or through empty exhortations to use the network.

(From: Richard Heeks & RK Dave)

Idea 2: Stakeholder Involvement Is A Must

The Cameroon government initiated the SIGIPES project: introducing e-government into the process of human resource management within government. The first attempt at the project - which took a top-down approach - was a failure. The second attempt ensured that general staff, including administrators and other lower-/middle-level system users, were involved with the project. Their ideas were incorporated into the design, and the process of involvement also helped develop their commitment.

(From: Olivier Kenhago)

Idea 3: Projects Need Leaders As Well As Managers

Leadership and management are not the same thing:

"The difference between leadership and management was once summed up in the following way by someone looking out of our office window in Covent Garden in central London:

'Imagine there's a sudden power failure on the tube [ London underground rail system ]. The system halts and all the lights go out. In the central control room someone is marshalling resources, implementing the standby facilities, rescheduling the trains, calling the emergency services. That's management. Someone else is walking along the darkened platform with a torch bringing a trainload of people to safety. That's leadership.'"

(Yeates, D. & Cadle, J. (1996) Project Management for Information Systems, Pitman Publishing: p249)

eGovernment projects need managers, but they also need leaders as well.

(From: Richard Heeks)