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Analysis Of The Pitfalls That Led To A Failed It System Project: Lessons From The Novopay Project.

1584 words - 7 pages

(Ministry of Education [MOE], 2013). Novopay is an IT system project initiated by the MOE and outsourced with Talent2, an Australian firm, specialising in robust HR and Payroll solutions. The Novopay project is a nationwide payroll system meant to service teachers and education sector staff at 2,457 schools in New Zealand (NZ). It is envisioned to be a modern online payroll solution with greater functionality, increased efficiency, better user interface and solution as against the existing payroll system Datapay. The project life cycle commenced with a business case in 2005 and concluded with the decision to go live in 20 August 2012. Since going live, the project was plagued by problems. ...view middle of the document...

Concerns about the weakness in project governance and leadership were raised several times in the report. The governance structure of the Novopay project complied with Prince2 project management, as well as met the Cabinet’s governance requirement as defined in the Guidelines for Managing and Monitoring Major IT Projects (GMMMITP) issued by the State Services Commission. (MINP, 2013) Although the Governance structure and Leadership were detailed and agreed on in the contract between Talent2 and the Ministry and in the Project Initiation Documents (PID) it was not sustained during the project duration; project management principles were not consistently demonstrated.
Despite the establishment of Prince2 method and presence of GMMMITP, the Novopay project failed. (MINP, 2013) Key findings during the project execution relates to the failure of the Ministry in establishing quality governance, which is necessary for a complex project of this nature. Issues on Governance includes the non-adherence to the structures and roles set out in the PID which resulted to dispersed accountability and complicated decision-making process; Formal governance disciplines were not consistently demonstrated, such as accurate minute preparation, which could help develop an extensive reporting and documentation system for future reference; and the project board’s failure to discuss the GMMMITP, these are guidelines for quality assurance of which all project board must adhered to, there was no overall responsibility for Independent Quality Assurance (IQA), a mandate for all monitored government projects, missing out on IQA reports which cover key risks and issues arising from major government projects that are provided to the Chief Executives. These could have avoided the wrong decision to Go-Live and chaos. According to the Office of Government Commerce [OGC], (2009) effective project management governance ensures that project portfolio is aligned to the organisations portfolio, objectives, delivered efficiently and sustainable. The advantage of governance is that it supports the corporate board with timely, relevant and reliable information. As Dinsmore & Cooke-Davies (2006) point out, uncertainties not directly related to the planned work on the project are better directed toward general management, “Decision making thus lies at the heart of project governance.” On the other hand, (Cicmil and Hodgson, 2000) suggest focusing on who is included and excluded in the decision-making process, what determines the role, agenda and power of the role holder, as these will determine the decisions in the project.

Furthermore, the absence of Leadership accountability, engagement and oversight on the project is another cause of the Novopay’s project failure. These resulted to the weakness in the project governance and project management, inability to ensure that the cabinet mandated GMMMITP is followed and IQA strictly encompassed the project. (OGC, 2009) viewed leadership as...

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