From the top

Freeze Art Regents Park London October

Image by art_ikon via Flickr

I realise that I am never going to fit in to my work environment.
I don't think that I can blog about this impartially. But, perhaps, usefully?
Before the work specific let's set the scene.
We have a government that wants to grow and promote the intellectual capital of this country.
How are we doing?
The answer is probably surprisingly well despite, not because of, the government.
This applies particularly to my field of IT.
Translating requirements into an application is one thing, but translating efficiently, creatively and offering true value for money is something entirely different.
It is quite clear that government has no criteria for the later, and therefore, no depth of understanding of subtle consequences of their decisions that ensue from contractual arrangements downwards.
Largely the government, in their many IT endeavours are ensnared by large IT companies who make it their business to justify the highest possible costs over the short and medium term.
Because they cannot show net profits above around 5% in the public sector they find other ways to make money, the most common pattern is that of over complicating requirements gathering and elongating the length of time it takes to fulfil and item of work. Attendant patterns are non-cooperation with IT partners and back loading costs to non IT ancillary services.
All of this comes about because the Civil Service is inattentive of contractual detail and under manned and skilled in their oversite roles. They also consistently chose large suppliers rather than a series of small suppliers.
Let's look at the consequences of this.
The government could be promoting exemplary projects, and it would be important if they did so.
Three truths
IT is a fluid field with much to learn, new ways of doing things on every level of the project. Experimentation coupled with uncertainty is the norm. This is so much the case that it cannot be said that further experimentation necessarily increases risk (within some parameters). Experimentation, trying things where results are uncertain, can reduce risk.
This truth is fundamental to understanding good IT governance.
The second truth is that top down governance is intrinsically flawed. The larger the pyramid the larger the mass of detail that is essentially unknown and, hence, contains hidden risk.
The third truth is that large pyramids are intrinsically unstable and dangerous when one needs to interact with another, at what ever level up or down the pyramid.
Enhanced by Zemanta

No responses to “From the top”

Leave a Reply

Some HTML is permitted: a, strong, em