UK gov't releases transparent post-failure analysis

The UK Identity & Passport Service (IPS) has released an excellent post-implementation assessment report describing lessons learned from five key 2007 projects. In an unusually transparent move for any government agency, the report candidly examines each project's objectives, deliverables, and areas for improvement.

UK govÂ’t releases transparent post-failure analysis

The UK Identity & Passport Service (IPS) has released an excellent post-implementation assessment report describing lessons learned from five key 2007 projects. In an unusually transparent move for any government agency, the report candidly examines each project's objectives, deliverables, and areas for improvement.

The report analyzes the following IPS projects conducted during 2007:

  • Authentication by Interview (ABI) – our largest project and an important counter fraud initiative which provides the capability for IPS to conduct passport applicant interviews
  • Reserve Facility – the provision of a reserve site for IPS’s main passport production facility ensuring business continuity in the event of catastrophic failure
  • ePassport Public Reader Project – the provision of a self service facility at passport regional offices to allow the public to view the data on the chip in the ePassport
  • Eclipse – a project to introduce a web based on line procurement system to improve efficiency of the procurement process, and comply with the eGovernment agenda.
  • PASS 7.2 – development of IPS’s core application processing system to enhance database technology, and implement policy changes and process improvements.

It presents over 20 specific recommendations for improvement, organized according to the following categories:

  • Benefits Realisation
  • Business Involvement
  • Communication
  • Contract Management
  • Culture
  • Governance
  • Implementation Roles and Responsibilities
  • Issues management
  • Management of External Communications
  • Off-system Customer Experience Testing (CET)
  • Phased Implementation and Transition Plan
  • Process
  • Project Approach
  • Project Resourcing
  • Release Authority Board (RAB)
  • Release Authority and Business Readiness Meetings
  • Security Accreditation
  • Staff Recruitment
  • Stakeholder Management
  • Testing Environment
  • Testing Methodology
  • Testing and Piloting

This list is outstanding precisely because it covers many common points of program management failure. Despite the importance of post-implementation analysis in preventing future failures, many organizations don't perform serious post-mortems, fearing that embarrassment or conflict will result.

That's why the objectivity and candor presented in the IPS analysis is so refreshing. In addition to being even-handed, pointing out both flaws and successes, the results are open and available for anyone to see. That's a sign of a healthy, confident organization trying to learn from past experience.

Good work, IPS! You've set a great example for both government and the private sector.

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