Last week, the NSW Auditor-General Peter Achterstraat announced that a major IT project that commenced in 2001 is still not completed and is unlikely to be finished until 2014.
The Auditor-General said the Government Licensing Project (GLP) was a good idea, but has gone on for too long.
“It is now 9 years late, $23 million over budget, and will return less than one third of the original estimated net savings. This is simply not good enough,” Mr Achterstraat said.
The report identified initial shortcomings in the planning process back in 2001. This meant that just months after commencement, 1 Jul 2010the project fell behind schedule. Originally forecast for completion in 2005, this has now been reconsidered, with the finish line closer to 2013-14.
The audit used the project as an example failed project management; extensive planning in the initial stages of a whole of government project can lead to a smoother execution of the stated aims.
“Put simply, this is poor project management. I recommend that all staff responsible for managing any large-scale projects read this report to learn from the problems encountered and mistakes made during this project,” he said.
Good news for the project is that to date, it has been implemented in six agencies responsible for 1.7 million licences. 15 legacy systems have been replaced, and 102 licence types have been consolidated to 55.
The Auditor-General’s comments were not confined to the GLP. “What concerns me is that this is not the first time my Office has raised issues about government IT projects. Most notably, in 2003 my Office reported numerous problems with the governance and implementation of another large IT system - Sydney Water’s Customer Information and Billing System,” he added.
The report is available on the Audit Office of New South Wales website.