Yet again there has been signficant controversy around a government IT project, and the fall-out suggests that we are still repeating the same mistakes now as we did 25 years ago.

Those of us with IT management degrees will perhaps have been taught about the London Ambulance Service, the Taurus system, the Inland Revenue systems, the Libra system, the NATS system - all classics in their own way, and no doubt grist for the academic mills. The C-Nomis project is yet another one that will grace the text books and classrooms all around the country, and effectively highlights that 'lessons learned' are probably no more than 'lessons noted', and the real change that is needed will only come when there is significant structural change in government and radical change in how we do things in the IT industry. The saddest part is the waste of taxpayers money that seems to be part of this whole endeavour, and the inability of some in influential positions to take ownership and responsibility for their actions (or inactions). These projects seem to get so embedded in the strategic directions of the various ministries and public sector bodies that there is no way back. The gateways are meaningless, and the project owners act in the way that the young Oliver Twist did when he approached his master with the words: "Please Sir, can I have some more?". Government and the budget holders seem to have no control over this, and rather than financial penalties and performance management incentives, we end up where we are now.

So what's the solution? Does anybody do it better? When will we learn? Or do we have to be held to the whims of these publicly sanctioned pick-pockets, to the detriment of real progress?

Read the article - Twenty five years of government IT project failure