Re: Oh really
Eh? Surely if a work is orphaned it means that nobody claims it and so won't miss the revenue.
Or are you afraid of being out-innovated by dead people?
4 posts • joined 26 Aug 2011
My impression is that UKBA IT is dogged by some very basic problems, much as the ill-fated e-Borders project was. Fixing these would free the various immigration procedures from the IT mire which seems to pervade the departments.
The main problem seems to be that UKBA's technology eyes are rather bigger than their skills stomachs. Critical systems are using some ferociously complex products - not just one big platform but a collection of some of the hairiest (and most expensive) technologies available. Perhaps inevitably, designers' skills are insufficient to collectively exploit these products in any sort of agile or efficient manner, draining effort integrating X with Y and supporting a complex delivery process when it should properly be spent on implementing business-related functions.
Couple the above with a culture where designers are very "hands off" (SSADM-style generation of paperwork comes to mind) and senior technical roles are held by those with only a high-level understanding of the technologies and it becomes clear how difficult it must be to get a coherent design together, manage change and hit all the other buttons (security etc.) convincingly.
The solution must be to enforce a narrower scope and literally do more with less. Focus should be on a single, general-purpose platform, avoiding the temptation of specifying a bunch of huge products with overlapping functionality. Even if each of these were best-in-class, such over-egging simply guarantees dissipation of effort and uncertainty in timescales.
From what I saw of this crowd if would be an outrage if they were awarded another penny of taxpayer's money. While there were some reasonably capable subcontractors, the clear impression was that no one in charge had the faintest idea how to design and deliver a project at this scale.
I remember asking a top design dude what he thought his job was, expecting him to refer to the establishment of common technical policy, processes and the like, and he replied that it was to "approve every change" being made by development teams (including subcontractors). Unbelievable.
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