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1997-12-01 13:51:21


Not One Software Project on Time in 10 Years: California



Not one major software project has been delivered to the government on time in California in the past decade. So reported the Orange County REGISTER (Nov. 16). The article reports that y2k is not the top-priority project. Tracing deadbeat parents is. The article mentions a dozen late or failed projects.

On the resources -- time and money -- needed to complete a y2k project, see the official California White Paper.

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Not one major government computer project has been delivered on time or on budget in at least the past 10 years, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office.

A legislative committee, meanwhile, has compiled a list of 36 ``at-risk'' computer projects now in the pipeline that are being watched closely. Just the 10 most expensive projects on the list will cost $1.37 billion to install, operate and maintain, according to the Assembly Committee on Information Technology.

State auditors and officials at the new Department of Information Technology have found that most of the state's problems stem from a lack of oversight, unqualified project managers and a byzantine procurement system. Much of the technology the state buys is obsolete before the ink dries on a contract. . . .

The most pressing and expensive problem now involves the partially finished $140 million system designed to locate deadbeat parents and help custodial parents get their child-support payments. The project is two years behind schedule, has more than doubled in cost to $356 million and is so inefficient that the few larger counties that are using it are bailing out. . . .

Right now, fixing the child-support system is the top priority. . . .

Developing computer systems is risky business nationwide, and California is not alone. The Standish Group reported in a 1995 study that 31.1 percent of private and public sector computer projects are canceled before they are completed. More than half the projects escalate in price by nearly 200 percent. On the other side, just 16 percent of software projects are completed on time and on budget, the study showed.


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