Kevin Brady poses the title question on his interesting blog. He makes the following argument:
I pointed out during a challenging exchange that the only reason why the building and engineering industries had 95% + project success rates is because of strong regulation /legislation backed up by local government inspection and enforced professionalism i.e. need for chartered qualifications for architects, surveyors and engineers etc.
The government needs to make IT projects a real investment opportunity and not a black hole for the government and non-government sectors of the economy. I stated that it was immoral and economically inefficient and thus not in the interests of the “Greater Public Good” to have a legal and regulatory frame work which allows annually £30.84 + billion in failed IT project /programme failures to persist.
Although his point is interesting, I see a few issues:
- The consequence of failed building and engineering projects can be loss of life. Obviously, most IT projects don’t fall into that category. The ones that do, such as software used to control airplanes for example, are tested intensively and cost is not a driving factor.
- In the private sector, IT projects are just one more type of expenditure. Why should they be treated differently than any other type of corporate spending?
- In the government sector, I do agree IT projects should be regulated more carefully. There is simply no reason for the high level of IT waste that is so common in government projects.
Finally, not to be mean-spirited, I don’t see what makes the government qualified to even think about regulating IT. After all, government IT projects often fail, and they tend to be huge failures.