rashbre central: mythical project control

Tuesday 3 October 2023

mythical project control

With all of my writing recently, I've been neglectful of rashbre central and I think this is my 'worst year ever' for creating posts. 

Anyway, this time I'm back in the tar pits of project management. I've often mused at the silence of Jacob Rees-Mogg in all of the current government turmoil, but decided that he could be adopting a farmer's position over the various twists and turns. Then I stumbled across the Infrastructure and Projects Authority Annual Report for last year and realised his strident Minister of State at the Cabinet Office role means he is across all of the infrastructure projects. Remember Red Amber Green? as a quick way to signify that things are in good shape?

  • Red = eek
  • Amber = oh dear, we can probably continue to fudge our responses for a bit longer
  • Green = tickety-boo.
And remember in project management that a project is 80% complete for 50% of its lifetime.
I recall Frederick Brooks on man-months and later Barry Boehm on project stress.

Well, it is interesting to note that J R-M sits over half a trillion pounds of investment.  He probably describes it as successful whilst presiding over 5% Green projects and 78% Amber and 9% Red. By a stroke of genius, there are another 7% of project now classified as 'exempt' from this kind of troublesome scrutiny. Like some of the power station projects.

That 7% alone is worth £48.2 billion. Remember when things were measured in millions?

Using one of Jacob's own charts it come out something like this:

In amongst the projects listed are HS2, the schools rebuilding programme, Skynet 6, the Single Trade Window. To be honest, there are charts in the summary that don't add up. Take this chart below which shows whole life costs. Check out military and it says the whole life cost is £3.9 billion. Bong. That's not right. 

On this other chart it says it is £194.7 Billion.

No wonder they can't keep a handle on the projects when there are such large amounts of billions sloshing around in the spreadsheets. 

Of course the change to a three tier rating system has successfully buried the Amber/Red projects. No one wants to be the Project Manager who gets the extra scrutiny and so this could be seen as a master-stroke.

It is tempting to examine these numbers further. Let's use a simple filter for the Green Successes, and to be generous, we'll add the Amber/Green as successes too. Oh dear, from 2013 at 48% successes, we are down to 10% in 2022. Oops.

Still. with the debating skills of Eton, I'm sure this can be explained away. Otherwise use a few more charts to obscure the message. Then there's the Government Project Delivery Profession accreditation scheme. Oh yes.

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