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This paper analysed the case study of the U.K. National Health Service system upgrade. During the literature review, various reasons for the failure of the project were identified including cultural aspects, the lack of stakeholder engagement, and time aspects. The International Project Management Association’s Individual Competence Baseline (ICB) was assessed as a tool for addressing these issues.
The ICB offers information that helps to prevent cultural issues by suggesting that the project manager needs to gain an understanding of the culture and values of the society in which the project takes place, before aligning all formal and informal culture differences within the project by writing down several documents. The ICB includes several chapters to help increase stakeholder engagement and productivity by making stakeholders fully aware of the objectives, processes, and the project, and by making them responsible for co-determining requirements and results and for describing the respective outcome. The ICB also addresses the time aspect by providing activities that include a definition of all required activities within a project which are necessary to deliver a project successfully. The schedule and the underlying phases, including deliverables, should then be drawn up. Once the planning of activities has been completed, the actual status should be regularly compared with the target status in order to be able to react to changes and problems.
The NPfIT project can offer valuable lessons for large-scale government and healthcare IT projects in New Zealand which have, in the past, suffered similar issues. The parts of the ICB outlined here would also help these projects and it offers a core set of competencies which can be applied on very large or very small projects and using a range of different methodologies, including Agile and traditional approaches.
In a New Zealand education context, an international case study such as this is a valuable tool for bringing global discussions into the New Zealand classroom. New Zealand has fewer large-scale IT projects but they offer important lessons for New Zealand students who may go on to lead both large and small projects, in New Zealand and around the world.
Eastern Institute of Technology
Kim Hagen-Hall is a senior lecturer in IT at EIT Hawkes Bay. Her research is in effective eLearning and education technology.