respect and were awarded the contract to

respect to human resource and payrollprograms and Logica CMG Pty Ltd (Logica)for the delivery of finance solutions.There were smaller numbers of contractorsfrom SAP Australia and IBM Australiato build a solution comprising SAPECC5 and Workbrain for payroll rosteringand time and attendance recording.In March of 2006 Queensland Health hadtransferred responsibility for the maintenanceof human resource software andhardware to CorpTech.

At this time theprovision of a new computerised payrollsystem for its employees was thought tobe urgent because the existing system,known as LATTICE, was nearing the endof its useful life (WS122, p. 11).By 2007 an independent review, knownas the ‘Kelliher Report’ found that the newsystem was significantly behind schedule.At about the same time Queensland Healthwas advised that the support for the ageingLattice System would cease in 2008.A series of reviews and tenders wereundertaken to determine a different approachbuilt around the idea of a ‘PrimeContractor’. IBM subsequently won thattender and were awarded the contract toproceed on the 5th of December 2007. ‘ByOctober 2008 IBM had not achieved anyof the contracted performance criteria;but it had been paid about $32 million ofthe contract price of $98 million; and itforecast that to complete what it had contractedto undertake would cost the Stateof Queensland $181 million. Accordingly,the Shared Services Solution across thewhole-of-government was abandonedand IBM’s contract was reduced in scopeto providing a new payroll system forQueensland Health’ (WS122).

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On 14th of March 2010 the system finallywent live after ten failed attempts. Theresulting system was reported to have35,000 payroll anomalies (WS059, p. 51)and required one thousand clerical staffto process fortnightly pays. Facing a totalexpenditure in the range of A$1.2 billion,the Executive Council of the QueenslandGovernment ordered a Commission of Inquiryinto the project on the 13th of December2012.

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY———————The documents forming the basis of thedata collection are drawn principallyfrom two sources:1. The published files of the QueenslandCommission of Inquiry into theQueensland Health Payroll Project; and2. Documents obtained under freedomof information requests to the Departmentof Health Queensland, and to theQueensland Treasury Department.

In total more than 200 documents wereobtained. These documents were initiallyin the form of concatenated PDF files andneeded to be separated into individualdocuments. Once broken up, there were355 files, of which 116 were witnessstatements from the Commission of Inquiry,and the balance of 239 files havebeen sourced by FOI. The documentssourced by FOI contain multiple recordsin each file, bringing the sum total numberof individual files to be examined toapproximately 1,000.The total number of pages of witness statementsamounted to 3,850.

In addition, therewas the collection of project documentationwhich exceeded 5,000 pages of emails, reports,project plans and other data.The task of investigation – detailed scientificinvestigation – requires the researcher tounderstand the decision making that wasmade at the time that those decisions weremade, with the information that was availableto members at that time (Vaughan,1996 ; 2016, and Dekker, 2014).Vaughan investigated the Challengerspace shuttle disaster and developed newtheories to explain how an organisationof experienced, qualified and concernedindividuals could make what in retrospectappeared to be ill-informed andcareless decisions. Vaughan referred tothis phenomenon as “The Normalisationof Deviance”. The significant departure inVaughan’s work from other investigationswas her insistence on reconstructing theevents and data flows surrounding theincident as it unfolded, “To understanddecision making in any organisation, wemust look at individual action within itslayered context: individual, organisation,and environment as a system of action”(Vaughan, 2016, loc: 1245)Vaughan further opined that “individualchoice is constrained by institutional andorganizational forces”, undermining thenotion of ‘amoral calculations’ (ibid).

Inother words, individuals attempt to makethe best decisions that they can given thedata available to them at the time, andwithin the known or experienced constraintsof the institutional and organizationalforces arrayed before them.To examine a case from the perspectiveof a timeline of events, of data andadvice that was available at the time, tothe participants, the researcher must endeavorto reconstruct the project fromthe available information. Dekker refersto this method of investigation as being’inside the tunnel’. “This is the point ofview of people in the unfolding situation.To them, the outcome was not known (orthey would have done something else).

They contributed to the direction of thesequence of events on the basis of whatthey saw on the inside of the unfoldingsituation. To understand human error,you need to attain this perspective.”(Dekker, 2014, p.

18)RESEARCH FIDINGS———————Project Management failed, there was a lackof requirements definition, and managementwas in conflict – all of the issues thatappear in the literature on failed projects.Yet, such issues as these got flagged by staffand consultants throughout the project(PD103, WS012, WS003, WS053), and stillthey remained as issues. No one could suggestthat management was not made awareof these failures. The findings indicated itwas not an absence of problem awarenessthat allowed a lack of project managementdiscipline to continue unabated.Management was regularly informed of whatwas going on with its project, both by staffand external consultants who knew howthe project should be run to avoid problemsof the nature experienced. The report onthe 2005 Whole-of-Government initiative(WS039), the KPMG Report (WS003), the KJRoss report on testing (PD103), the IBM andCorpTech report to ‘reconstruct’ the businessrequirements (PD063) and the 2009Queensland Audit Office report (PD108) allprovided clear statements identifying wherethe project was failing and what needed to bedone to remedy the situation.

Yet the problemspersisted until the total project costshad blown out to beyond A$1 billion.To paraphrase Cobb’s Paradox – the StateGovernment of Queensland understoodwhy projects fail and what specifically wasgoing wrong on their payroll project; theyhad been informed of what needed to bedone to prevent failure and were well awareof the methodologies and governance arrangementsthat were required — so whydo they still fail?The proximal causes of failure, as identifiedin this research, are:1. a lack of domain expertise by seniormanagement responsible for theproject as evidenced by the inabilityor unwillingness to adopt appropriategovernance processes;2.

stakeholders remained in conflictthroughout the life of the project;3. internal advice was ignored (orworse) and team members were unableto find an avenue to raise theirconcerns;4. there was a complete lack of accountabilityfor failure evident throughout theproject and especially when it came tovendor and contract management.A LACK OF DOMAIN EXPERTISE———————An Information Technology project employing dozens or hundreds of people from differentstakeholder groups, with different training, experience and motivations is a microcosm ofsociety – it is its own unique social construct, existing within a larger organisation. This researchis studying the consequences of ‘actors-working-in-organisations’ (Manning, 2008,p. 678) and in particular looking at individual interactions, decisions and consequences.Goffman (1959), investigating the microsociology of face-to-face interactions developed atheory referred to as ‘dramaturgy’ that states ‘we are all performers in the interest of order'(Manning, 2008, p.

679). Dramaturgy refers to the manner in which individuals ‘perform’in social situations in order to produce a result. Performance ‘comes and goes as required’and ‘selectively presented, selectively responded to, and selectively adequate to sustainingthe working consensus on which interaction depends’ (ibid.).The actors in the Queensland Health Payroll project came from many different organisations:IBM, CorpTech, Queensland Health, Department of Works, KJ Ross ; Associates, independentcontractors working for any of the aforementioned, and several senior executives with nodiscernible experience or knowledge of information technology projects being asked to runa large and complex project interacting with other individuals all ‘acting their parts’.

In the Queensland Health Payroll project there was a range of people, with different backgroundsand experiences interacting in an organisational setting. The manner in whichthey respond to ‘events’ or ‘problems’ depended upon a range of inputs – their personalexperiences, education and training, the availability of explicit knowledge in the formof documented and available materials, and the use of tacit knowledge. Vo-Tran (2014, p.15) found that ‘stakeholders who possessed greater amounts of experience tended to relyupon the use of their tacit knowledge to manage and share information. Whereas stakeholderswho possessed lesser amounts of experience had a tendency towards the use ofexplicit forms of documentation’.In a ‘Goffmanesque’ environment individuals will behave differently dependingupon whether or not they are ‘acting’ front-stage or back-stage (Vo-Tran, 2014, p.

131, Manning, 2008):• Front Stage – where the actors’ actions are visible to the audience and form a part ofthe performance. The person knows that they are being watched and acts accordingly.Competence versus Confidence of IT Project Leadership 13manage and share information. Whereas stakeholders who possessed lesser amounts ofexperience had a tendency towards the use of explicit forms of documentation’.In a ‘Goffmanesque’ environment individuals will behave differently depending upon whether ornot they are ‘acting’ front-stage or back-stage (Vo-Tran, 2014, p. 131, Manning, 2008):• Front Stage – where the actors’ actions are visible to the


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