On the NPfIT programme, Dr Seneschall indicates that numerous bids were quite obviously low, but were accepted all the same, resulting in uncomfortable and costly renegotiations, deteriorating relationships and ultimately the need to find new suppliers to take over when disgruntled ones left. When the NPfIT programme was initially put out to tender, the client adopted an approach that the government had not tried before, and which it hoped would effectively keep costs in line and production on course.
Strict clauses were laid down from the outset, including an agreement that suppliers would not be paid until delivery, that there would be penalties for any delays, and that if performances guarantees were not met then they could be removed from the programme altogether.
It seems also, that the government believed that these threats were enough to keep the suppliers in line and on task and then failed to adequately project or contract manage their suppliers from this point on. Dr Seneschall indicates that by failing to build open and honest channels of communication, with iSOFT in particular, the government was unaware that their core software, Lorenzo, was not in fact everything that they had been promising it would be, even in public statements to the press.
After significant development problems, the NPfIT project was left with software that was nowhere near as advanced or fit for purpose as they had wished. While effective programme and project management throughout the contracts may have solved some of their problems, it is also likely that a much more rounded approach, including an appropriately structured pre-contractual due diligence and stakeholder management process, would have led to higher levels of supplier motivation and client engagement. It is vital that the right behaviours are encouraged in suppliers from the very beginning of a project, as both client and supplier need to see themselves as getting a tangible benefit from their involvement.
A further very important point that Dr Seneschall raises, is that while the government was describing their procurement process as revolutionary, many others, even during the early process, were heaping criticism upon it. Given that the NPfIT was meant for use in hospitals, health care centres, and potentially GP practices, many medical professionals felt that they had not been adequately consulted or asked for their opinion on specific requirements. The failure to get medical professionals on side may also have given them a negative opinion of the programme, when ultimately they could have been providing much-needed assistance in shaping the Lorenzo software.
Problems also arose because the age and complexity of legacy systems across the NHS were not adequately taken into account, something those on the ground could have provided information on if they had been involved in the process. Without an accurate view of the lie of the land, iSOFT and the other contracting companies were unable to see the bigger picture and quite how difficult it would be to roll out their new software across so many different system environments.
This led, of course, to further delays, and when coupled with the development problems of the key software, meant that implementation barely happened at all. It is also arguable that the degree of urgency placed on the suppliers by the government did not help matters and that they failed to implement due diligence when mapping out the project specifications.
Placing an emphasis on speed and assuming that quality will follow is the downfall of many projects — if time had been taken to engage NHS professionals with the iSOFT team, they would have picked up on the deficiencies with the Lorenzo software at a much earlier stage. Due to the speed of the bidding process and the fact that many of the contractors underpriced their bids, Dr Seneschall implies that it is hardly surprising that many of the suppliers ended up pulling out of the project long before its completion. Accenture were the first to go in , after reporting significant losses, and although they had to repay part of their fee under the exit agreement, this was still disastrous to the programme.
Fujitsu followed shortly after in , and the contracts that the government had with both BT and CSC were substantially renegotiated and eventually reset after years of delays. While these circumstances were in many ways unavoidable due to the failure of the procurement process to accurately address appropriate pricing levels, more could also have been done to keep the suppliers on side — especially if open and honest communication had been maintained.
Terminating relationships with key providers may initially have seemed like a refreshing step for the programme, but in reality this only cemented feelings of distrust with the remaining partners, who feared being thrown overboard, as well as proving highly disruptive as years of negotiation were necessary to achieve this. There are of course no guarantees that new suppliers will provide a better service than the previous incumbents, and the changeover period is likely to be time-consuming and costly, especially when complex and highly integrated IT provisions are involved. The National Programme for IT was a bold vision for the future of the NHS and could have provided a positive step forward for an institution that for the most part undertakes exceptional work.
of this case analysis, which identifies the potential causes of the project failure. Project management lessons learned from the failure and a project stakeholder. This article examines the lessons learned from a failed DOD project--the Lighter Amphibian A case study of project and stakeholder management failures.
By failing to appropriately pre-contractually scope the programme and provide an detailed picture of the complexities involved across both systems and critical stakeholders, it seems the government was seduced by the lowest bidders who themselves failed to provide a full view to the suitability of their products. The information in this blog can help to prevent such outcomes. Your email address will not be published. If you are interested in significantly cutting the costs of your service provider partnerships, sign up to free updates by entering your email address below.
All Rights Reserved. Search for:. Company policy, it seems, tied their hands. How to put things on shelves was dictated from on high, through a completely inflexible planogram. The best a store manager could do in front of an empty shelf? Do companies seriously not consider customers and employees as stakeholders?
So what happened at Target then?
Organizations follow two basic mutually exclusive approaches. One is customer-led; the other efficiency-led. Stakeholder management lessons for the textbooks Customer-led companies focus on customers, make an effort to understand them, and develop strong propositions to satisfy them. They also encourage a high level of employee engagement to achieve the goal of reaching customers. Efficiency-led companies focus on the numbers and on being lean. When Target belatedly began to understand that the Canadian customer was not behaving as they had assumed they would, they were far, far too slow to adapt.
The company saw the initial problem as being the store locations: the gobbled-up remains of a former Canadian discounter Zellers, whose many stores were indeed at the dusty ends of s strip malls. Nadine B. Her approach has worked for the likes of Coca-Cola and Unilever. To create Highly Relational Engagement, companies must know the capabilities, conditions and processes they need.
Obstacles and drivers need to be clearly defined. Obstacles need then to be dealt with honestly and directly, while drivers must be mobilized.
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