The Danish Council for IT Projects
In 2010, the Danish Government published a report showing that governmental IT projects experienced difficulties and that there was a need for professionalising IT efforts. Consequently, in 2011 the Government took the initiative to establish a government Council for IT Projects.
The background to the Danish Council for IT Projects
The Council for IT Projects has nine senior managers, primarily from the private sector, but also from semi-public and public IT-intensive organisations. The members have experience of large-scale IT projects or projects for change and can contribute solid and competent guidance to governmental IT projects.
The role and tools of the Danish Council for IT Projects
The Council for IT Projects has introduced the following tools with a view to professionalising the IT area:
- Firstly, the Council assesses the risk profile of all governmental IT projects exceeding DKK 10 million and programmes exceeding DKK 60 million.
- Secondly, the Council recommends that high-risk projects should be subject to an external review.
- Thirdly, the Council monitors the progress of risk-assessed projects and programmes on an ongoing basis through biannual progress reporting
All governmental IT projects exceeding DKK 10 million and programmes exceeding DKK 60 million must be risk assessed by the Danish Council for IT Projects. The risk assessment is carried out by a risk assessment team of experienced IT project managers from private and governmental IT projects in collaboration with a member of the Council.
All projects and programmes are given specific recommendations by the Council, and the result of a risk assessment is always that the project risk is assessed as high or normal. High-risk projects receive close attention and the Council may recommend that an external review should be conducted.
During the first three years, the Council has carried out approx. 50 risk assessments of IT projects. Out of these, the assessment of nine showed that they were high-risk projects.
As mentioned above, the Council for IT projects may recommend that high-risk projects should be subject to an external review. The Council may also recommend that projects further down the project pipeline should be subject to a review if they are delayed, become more costly, or face huge challenges in relation to the realisation of gains.
The Council may decide to monitor an external review closely and will consider the conclusions of the review and make recommendations for subsequent action.
All risk-assessed IT projects and programmes must submit biannual progress reports to the Council for IT Projects on expectations regarding schedule, project economy and realisation of gains.
Against the background of the progress report submitted, the Council will assign “traffic lights”. IT projects assigned a yellow and red traffic light will be offered another visit from a member of the Council where the senior management member in charge can engage in sparring with the Council member on how to address the current project challenges.
Every six months, the Council will submit an overall progress report including traffic lights to the Danish Government. The overview is subsequently published on the Council’s website to ensure that the state of affairs of governmental IT projects is made available to suppliers, consultants and others taking an interest in the progress of large-scale IT projects.
Where the Council has made a difference
During its first few years, the Council for IT Projects has achieved the following:
- Presented an overview of all ongoing IT projects in the government sector
- Introduced a concept of traffic lights and follow-up on yellow and red projects, as well as subsequent action taken by the Danish Government
- Contributed to closing IT projects in trouble
- Contributed to closing down IT projects at an early stage or to the re-scoping or, in other ways, maturing of IT projects before they were launched
- Supports knowledge sharing on IT projects across the Danish government sector.