Scrum for Managers in the Public Sector

Preparing a Scrum training for Managers in the Public Sector can be an inspiration for a post. Digging through research I found an article with the nice title:”Double Whammy: How ICT Projects are Fooled by Randomness and Screwed by Political Intent” by Alexander Budzier and Bent Flyvbjerg. The study analyzed 1471 large-scale global IT projects costing more than $170m. The findings where one in six big IT projects go over-budget by an average of 200%. An average IT project has a budget overrun of 27% and a schedule overrun of 55 %. In an interview for the BBC Bent Flyvbjerg stated “People always thought that the public sector was doing worse in IT than private companies – our findings suggest they’re just as bad.”

I presented this finding as that public sector was doing as good as private companies :-). Only the public sector gets more public attention on failing IT projects. For example in May 2012 the Dutch Parliament will start a public inquiry in Public IT projects. The public attention and the inquiry will be good impulse to look for better alternatives to do IT Projects.

In the Netherlands is following alternative in the US and UK. After a report by the Court for Audit (Rekenkamer) the central government created the CIO role on department level and big governmental agencies. Next tollgate reviews are organized for big IT projects.

The Office of Cabinet (UK) is taking the next step. In November they stated the aim of using agile techniques in 50 % of ICT programme by 2013. In the Government ICT Strategy – Strategic Implementation Plan 2011 they stated by 2014, Agile will reduce the average departmental ICT enabled change delivery timescales by 20%. Great future for Agile Overheid (Agile Public Administration).

3 thoughts on “Scrum for Managers in the Public Sector”

  1. It’s hard to imagine a target that more painfully demonstrates they clearly didn’t “get” what Agile is about: “By 2013 the aim is to run 50% of projects using agile techniques.” Or how about the kicker “Agile will reduce the average departmental ICT enabled change delivery timescales by 20%.” I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

  2. Ronald Doelen

    First off all top down Agile adoption program’s are more successful the bottom up. So it is a good iniatief by the CIO Kenny Robertson. I have seen (successful) agile program’s in major Dutch banks with at least the same ambitions.

    I think the Government ICT Strategy by Office of Cabinet demonstrates a good ambition to use agile techniques to shorten time to market (delivery timescales by 20%). Research indicates agile projects have 37% faster time to market. Other research even indicates a higher productivity or cost reduction.

    The ambition to run 50 % of project using agile techniques by 2013 is not over ambitious. They will have 2 years to implement agile techniques.I I don’t know how wel defined (SMART) this goal is. I think the Office of Cabinet clearly got what agile is. I hope the Dutch public sector will follow soon.

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