Tuesday, August 13, 2013

We Can Only Hope The Lessons Of The Lessons Of The Qld Health Payroll Debacle Will Be Learnt. What Chance Do You Give That Of Happening?

The IT press has been full of reports on the outcome of the Government Enquiry. Here is a link to the enquiry and the final report which was released about 10 days ago.
This excerpt from the actual report is really a discussion of how to just ignore Project Management 101 and really says it all
Report Page 91

Contract and Project Management

1.6
In particular, the problems might be summarised as follows:
a. the scoping of the system (ie its definition) was seriously deficient and remained highly unstable for the duration of the Project. That being so, and although the problem was firmly known to each party, no effective measures were taken to rectify the problem or to reset the Project;
b. the State, who would ultimately bear the risk of a dysfunctional payroll system, gave up several important opportunities to restore the Project to a stable footing and to ensure that the system of which it would ultimately take delivery was functional. Dr Manfield characterised the approach of both parties as being “Plan A or die”;
c. the decision to Go Live miscarried, both because it ought to have been obvious to those with responsibility for making that decision that the system would not be functional and because the decision to Go Live involved no proper and measured assessment of the true risks involved in doing so;
d. the system, when it went live, failed to function in a way in which any payroll system, even one which was interim and to have minimal functionality only, ought to have done.
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A senior legal expert of my acquaintance had the following to say.
“One of the most remarkable Government IT project failures was recently dissected in Queensland, to the great discomfort of IBM.
The summary and recommendations section …. do not do the entire report justice.
Section 4 of Part 1, on the RFP process is frankly scary.
One of the main protagonists, a former IBMer installed in Qld Govt, is described rather creatively as “a stranger to self-doubt”.
Quote: “The replacement of the QH payroll system must take a place in the front rank of failures in public administration in this country.  It may be the worst.”
It displays all that is bad about Government IT contracting processes and will no doubt reverberate in how Federal and State Governments approach the IT market in the future.
I recommend reading the summary recommendations - (Section 4, Page 219), and then the PDF as to the consequences.
The Report itself is a much bigger but worthwhile read.
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It is really hard to disagree.
From my reading there is excellent commentary on the whole debacle found here:

BANNED: Qld Govt outlaws new IBM contracts

Written by Renai LeMay on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 16:56
news The Queensland Government has explicitly banned its departments and agencies from entering into any new contracts with diversified IT products and services company IBM until the company demonstrates that it has improved its governance and contracting practices, in an extraordinary move taking place in the wake of the Queensland Health payroll disaster which IBM held a key role in.
Queensland Health’s payroll systems upgrade project was first kicked off in late 2007, when the department determined there was a need to look at a new payroll platform to replace the previous platform, based on Lattice and ESP software, which had been progressively implemented from 1996. Partially as a result of the fact that the state had decided to standardise on SAP’s ECC5 and Infor’s Workbrain software across its whole of government operations, those same platforms were picked for the Queensland Health implementation.
However, the project, implemented by prime contractor IBM, Queensland Health itself and government shared services provider Corptech — quickly went off the rails as poor governance and the complexity of Queensland Health’s award system kicked in, with the result that many of Queensland Health’s 85,000 workers went without pay for a period, or were overpaid, at various periods from early 2010, when the system went live. The LNP administration in Queensland recently announced additional funding of the project of $384 million, taking total project costs to an estimated $1.25 billion.
Lots more here:
and here:

Top 5 lessons from the Queensland Health payroll saga

Date Fri Aug 09 01:01:22 UTC 2013

Sylvia Pennington

A whole lot of time and a whole lot of money spent on another IT debacle. The only upside: learnings.
Eight months and $5 million later, the Queensland government and the industry finally received answers this week: a Royal Commission of Inquiry’s detailed dissection of the snowballing disaster that was the Queensland Health payroll upgrade.
The findings have sparked a flurry of finger pointing and much rumbling about repercussions for prime contractor IBM and the public servants who allowed it to happen.
With the project bill expected to hit $1.2 billion, it’s an expensive cautionary tale on how not to run an IT project. So what back-to-basic lessons should CIOs and other organisations glean from the whole sorry saga?
Lots more here:
and lastly here:

IBM, Qld slug it out over botched health payroll system

Mark Ludlow and Paul Smith
The botched implementation of the Queensland Health IT payroll system is, by any measure, a massive stuff-up by the state’s public service.
The $6 million contract to global IT giant IBM is going to cost taxpayers $1.2 billion to fix.
Former Supreme Court judge Richard Chesterman QC came to that conclusion in his $5 million inquiry report released on Tuesday.
“The replacement of the Queensland Health payroll system takes a place in the front rank of failures in public administration in this country. It may be the worst,” Chesterman says frankly in his report.
Yet the report is almost equally scathing about IBM. It says “Big Blue” may have used underhand tactics to win the lucrative ­government contract, then walked away with a generous fee despite the disaster when it “went live”. Three years later, its system is so full of glitches that 800 people are still employed every fortnight to process 80,000 payslips for Queensland Health.
On Wednesday, Premier Campbell Newman vowed to blacklist IBM from any future government contracts until the company improved its governance arrangements. It was an extraordinary attack and IBM hit back, rejecting the key findings of the Chesterman inquiry, and laid the blame with the former Bligh government for not giving them a proper brief for the project.
Much more here:
Overall it was an astonishing mess. I wonder how we will view the NEHRS / PCEHR in a few years time?
David.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Overall it was an astonishing mess. I wonder how we will view the NEHRS / PCEHR in a few years time?"

It's on the way there and there's no stopping it either. Just wait till you hear the latest mass exodus going on at nehta that shows what a fiasco it is.

Anonymous said...

Until the Hubris demonstrated by the generic management of the public service is exposed as such this level of disaster will continue to occur.

A large payroll system requires experienced developers and managers to build but its been done before and can be done again if experienced technical people are placed in positions of power to manage things they understand deeply.

The management of much of our infrastructure, including hospitals, customs systems, water supply and eHealth has been handed to people with no deep experience in the field. They appear to have a total lack of self doubt, much like KRUDD, but the track record will catch up with them. Lets hope this is obvious before civilization crumbles under the weight of the policy and procedure manuals and glossy flyers they so love.

Te advantage of the market is that people risk their own money and future and failure cannot be hidden under piles of taxpayers hard earned dollars. Enough is enough, this parrot is dead, lets hope the coalition looks hard for savings and cuts this dead weight loose. It will sink like a stone and allow real progress to evolve out of a scene of devastation in the eHealth industry. Its time to attach a hopeless toe tag to this bleeding corpse of a project and try and attend the wounded, with some hope of survival.