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David Hallett david@p...
Wed Apr 13 11:29:04 NZST 2005

At 10:55 13/04/2005, you wrote:
> From what I understand INCIS was a failure due to poor project
>management and "Scope Creep", INCIS is also not the first failure the
>government has produced and will not be the last.
>Several studies also firmly pointed the blame finger back at the
>government on it.

There is ample material available (publicly) that discusses the INCIS 
situation in comprehensive detail.

Have you read the report of the Ministerial Inquiry into INCIS? For those 
who are interested, you can access the PDF report here: 
or the HTML report here:

A response to your statement "... INCIS was a failure due to poor project 
management and 'Scope Creep'" is found in the Executive Summary:

"The reasons why the INCIS Project did not achieve its objectives were 
numerous, interrelated and complex but they were not unique to the Police 
and there were other examples both in Government and private enterprise 
business in New Zealand and overseas. No single cause resulted in the 
failure but the combined effect of the causes meant that INCIS would almost 
certainly fail." -- Executive Summary,

However, if you contrast the Executive Summary with part of the 
Relationship with Primary Contractor exposition, it is easy to understand 
why the project was doomed from the outset:

"IBM appears to have accepted and proceeded within the limits of the 
technology and architecture specified in the Request for Tender (RFT) and 
Request for Proposal (RFP). However, in particular, having regard to the 
Sapphire report, it is reasonable to assume that IBM should have known that 
key elements of the technology and architecture were unproven in an 
application of this size and complexity. The Sapphire report indicates that 
IBM advised that a distributed object computing environment was impossible 
to achieve and admitted that, in respect of its Object Oriented Iterative 
Development Methodology, it had very little practical experience on any 
project, let alone one the size and complexity of the INCIS Project. IBM 
was also unable to demonstrate the process manager." -- Section 8.2,

Perhaps IBM assume that practical experience is an unnecessary or unrelated 
qualifier when attempting a complex project?
I have personally been involved in a project where IBM was also the Primary 
Contractor and where things turned pear-shaped. In that case that project 
was abandoned after it had been running for ~20 months. Perhaps I have 
become cynical? However when it comes to complex projects, cynicism saves a 
good deal of money when compared to optimism, and truck-loads full of cash 
when compared to blind optimism.


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