Friday, 26 June 2015

When news of procurement doom and gloom is a good thing

News that one in four government projects is in danger of failing may surprise you as something I view as worth celebrating.

It is a good thing that if it represents an honesty in project management status. It is a good thing if represents a true assessment of risk. It is a good thing if it avoids throwing further good money after bad. It is a good thing if it leads to corrective action being taken. It is a good thing if lessons are learnt and shared.

It is a good thing if other organisations learn that honesty in project management risk is something to be valued.

However, should the projects continue 'As Is' it represents a terrible waste of opportunity and a sad inditment on strategic procurement and project management.

Monday, 22 June 2015

The risk of dysfunction Procurement Strategy

The revelation today that changes to Home Office immigration rules will mean the need for many overseas recruited nurses to return home reminds of us the need to have a holistic approach to risk management when developing policy and strategy.  It is only a short time ago that a small fortune, £20.19m,  was invested in overseas recruitment as a means of addressing nursing shortages. Now, having made that investment, the HO changes mean that investment was only a short-term 'band-aid'. It didn't solve the problem. Did the original business case recognise the wider dependencies?

From a procurement perspective, we have to see this pending crisis in parallel with the DH  'clamping down' on Agency spend. I have already questioned that strategy, but that was in the absence of knowing about the HO plan which would generate additional shortages. Did the DH lack awareness too of the HO plans when they announced the 'get tough' on Agencies strategy? Did the HO think through the dependency on overseas workers? Did the HO and DH speak to each other - did they even understand the need to risk access their strategies?

Now the DH go into negotiations with Agencies in an even weaker position. The can't train sufficient nurses within the HO 2017 guillotine and demand will only increase, and they can't make sure that the anticipated nursing shortages can be addressed through Agencies or temporary staff. It will take some very creative thinking to achieve a good outcome.

While it's easy to see the flaws in central government strategy, the lessons to procurement practitioners are clear:  don't embark on a strategy prior to doing your research and understanding what else is being considered in the organisation; have a clear articulation of dependencies; risk assess your strategy; and, avoid placing yourself in a position or weakness in the market.