How 10 Vic govt projects fell over

How 10 Vic govt projects fell over

Summary: We know that IT projects often go wrong, but it's a bit much for 10 of Victoria's major IT projects to do a face plant in the same decade. We tell you what made each of the projects bomb.

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We know that IT projects often go wrong, but it's a bit much for 10 of Victoria's major IT projects to do a face plant in the same decade. We tell you what made each of the projects bomb.

The Victorian Ombudsman has published a report on 10 major Victorian IT projects, providing case studies on those he looked at. We dissect his findings for you.

1. LEAP of faith

The first was Victoria Police's project to replace its LEAP database, which had been used since 1992 to record crime incidents, with a new system called LINK.

In 2005, spurred on by a previous ombudsman's report, the then-premier announced $50 million in funding for a three-year roll-out, and a business case was later completed that said it would cost $59 million to build. This business case, completed by an independent consultant, "grossly underestimated the cost and complexity of the project", according to the ombudsman, because the scope of the project had been written to fit the funding, instead of looking at how much it would cost to get what was actually needed.

A leadership vacuum (there were two people heading up the project with joint responsibility, one of which had inadequate experience, the ombudsman said) meant that it took almost four years for the Victoria Police to realise that the project would be at least $80 million over budget.

Meanwhile, the team took the off-the-shelf product that had been chosen, and over-customised it, so that it would replace LEAP's functionality, instead of addressing future policing requirements.

When a new business case was finally created early this year, it laid out that an additional $127.7 million in funding was required in addition to the original $59.48 million. However, after this, the project failed its first gateway review, because it hadn't taken future policing requirements into account, and the project was put on hold in August. The team now intends to ask the Cabinet budget committee for $12 million to develop a business case that would focus not only on the replacement of LEAP, but also on transforming Victoria Police into a modern policing organisation.

Takeaway: rushed business cases don't cut the mustard. Project experience is paramount.

Topics: Government, Government AU, Outage

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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Talkback

5 comments
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  • how depressing. huge amounts of money wasted.

    on a positive note, how do i get in on this scam?
    chugs1
  • Oh - so they're bit like the QLD government, but on a smaller scale.
    antsims
  • Having worked on the RandL Program, I disgaree with Ombudsman's comments re. ensuring project funding. The funding was iterative and was provided at key milestones like a project should be. What I find amusing is that the Ombudsman argues there should be review points and if projects aren't viable they should be canned, yet he criticises RandL for doing so??!!! You can't have your cake and eat it too George. What this does prove is that democracy can be expensive when you have a change of Govt during a project who did not have it on there election agenda. If you're in the Coalition, who has no governing experience except for heckling from the bench who saw their opposing member (Kosky) just sacked for Myki, would you take on another big IT project that you know nothing about?
    rodney.werc
  • "the project would be at least $80 million under budget." Should this be OVER budget?
    Streetcred
  • That would make much more sense Streetcred. Thanks for pointing it out.
    suzanne.tindal