Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tories going agile on IT development?

I've only actually seen the briefing on the new Tory Party proposals for IT projects in Government so can't comment as yet in absolutely full detail. However, on the base of it the main recommendations should be welcomed I think.

For a start, using more Open Source software is never going to be a bad because in procurement terms it can save you masses of money. Sadly there are too many project managers out there who think the bigger the price tag the better software. Not true.

One interesting point of the briefing is the pro[posals to make sure that Government delivers smaller iterations in development and scope of projects. This makes perfect sense. Large centralised projects always overrun, always overspend, and invariably fail to deliver what they are meant too.

I am reminded of something I wrote two years ago about what a Tory Government should do and these proposals of spliting things into modular components fits in well with that.

10 comments:

M said...

"Sadly there are too many project managers out there who think the bigger the price tag the better software"

Unfortunately, this is the case, but we're not all like that! I am a project manager and I tend to believe that the first consideration should be functionality and the over-riding ability of the software to fulfil the job. Then I look at price and if OS software can do the job, that's what I recommend. Failing that, some very hard bargaining on prices can usually see some good returns anyway - sadly, too many public sector projects don't bother too much with price negotiation (in spite of the apparently "competative tendering" processes which are supposed to be employed).

Alex said...

This film is related:

http://www.usnowfilm.com/clips

George Osborne talks about 'Open Source Politics'

Mostly Ordinary said...

Isn't they trying to push the myth that open source = free when it doesn't. The Services costs around deploying and supporting are just as high as proprietary applications and several companies like IBM see it as a major revenues stream. The other facility is that you get the same features from something like open office as you do something like MS Office - you don't. Open Office has no Unfied Communications support for example, so now when I click to call from an email I wouldn't be able to do this if we migrated to Open Office.

There is also a myth that Government doesn't already use open source, it does - I've worked on it.

So the big question here is has Conservative Central Office migrated to linux desktops using Open Office - I suspect not.

Andy said...

Public sector paired programming would be the laziest thing in the world!

Anonymous said...

So any day now we can expect Gordon Brown to announce that “owing to the current financial situation we have now decided to use Open Source software in government IT projects”.

New Labour are crap at virtually everything, but one area where they truly excel is stealing Tory policies.

nicobulus said...

even sadder, there are project managers out there who believe that delivering a 1,500 page set of "business requirements" is a fantastic achievement because you get to tick the ISO compliant box for your company.

They've yet to realise that monolithic documents take far too long to produce, never get read by the developers and only deliver 25% of the required functionality 5 years too late.

Henry Crun said...

"Sadly there are too many project managers out there who think the bigger the price tag the better software. "

My favourite bugbear. Time and again I have had to deal with the inverse snobbery of "it can't be any good at that price". Mercator, Biztalk, Webmethods - all over-expensive crap.

Anonymous said...

Open Source = Buy Now, Pay Later.
Anyone who thinks that IBM plug Open Source as some kind of ethical gesture rather than an attractive business stream is off their rocker...

Anonymous said...

horses for courses.

open source has it's place in IT but it cant be used for everything. moving all desktop pc's to Linux from windows is just ludicrous.

any IT PM that dismisses an option because it doesn't cost enough is really out of his depth and should be sacked immediately.

Gordie said...

Anonymous, you don't understand how government IT works in the UK.

A few years back, I ran a procurement for a Whitehall department and got some really good FLOSS consortia to bid.

Then the CIO said "just remember, I have to spend two million pounds by April".

Value for money FAIL.