The US and Australian government are opening up a vast array of information, communication and technology (ICT) project data into the public domain. They provide the online tools to interact with this data and the APIs to enable third parties to extract and analyse data offline. This level of transparency helps to change behaviours because project teams understand that they will be publically accountable for delivery. It was a conscious decision to help change the delivery performance of a portfolio of projects that has remained a challenge.
In early 2017 Martin Paver began to investigate to what extent lessons are being learned across society and the impact of this learning on project performance. He was surprised at the lack of transparency within the UK public sector, particularly when compared to the US and Australian. He began to probe further via a series of Freedom of Information requests and was disappointed at the variability in the responses. Some departments were supportive of the need to be transparent but others have gone out of their way to manufacture fog, confusion and prevent release of data which will facilitate insights into how well they are performing. In a climate of austerity and key social services being closed because of a lack of funding, we believe it is only right and proper that public authorities are held to account for the delivery of projects which we, as taxpayers, invest in. Project delivery productivity has stalled and it is important that we gain a detailed understanding of how well departments are performing so we can work together to deliver improvements.
In late 2017 Martin Paver, James Smith and Andy Josolyne met to discuss a shared vision of bringing new insights to publically available data, to help facilitate insights that wouldn’t otherwise have been obvious and encourage improvements for the benefit of society. Our first step on this journey was to analyse the dataset of government major projects which has been released on an annual basis since 2012. We established the website leveragingexperience.com in 2017 with the objective of making public sector data easier to digest, understand and extract insights from. Our intention is to continue to build this analysis out over the coming months and years for the benefit of everyone. We hope you find it useful.
In parallel, we have also invested a significant amount of effort in collating and analysing >15,000 lessons learned. We have provided insights and commentary on this dataset at this link. We hope to be able to forge further connections between the project performance data and lessons learned over the coming months. When we reach this position we should gain a better understanding of the connection between cost & schedule overrun and how organisations are learning from these experiences.
Please feel free to get in contact if you have any ideas on how to develop the scope, depth or presentation of the analysis. We would love to hear from you.