London Ambulance Service Computer Aided Dispatch System Lessons Learnt Report

Topics: Project management, Management, Planning Pages: 12 (3083 words) Published: April 24, 2013
London Ambulance Service
Computer Aided Dispatch System

Lessons Learnt Report

Submission Date: 13/03/12
Word Count: 2690


Project Management (Planning \ Scheduling)3
Project Manager responibilities3
Statement of Work3
Problem areas3
Time Management4
Stages of Project Planning5
Project Procurement / Contract management6
Procurement process6
Procurement process in LAS case study8
Lessons learnt Procurement process9
Organisational Structures/Culture9
Effective Human Resource Management10
Why did it fail ?13

Failure of IT projects has plagued the IT industry since the introduction of automated systems into organisations. While failures in software are perhaps one of the more quickly excused reasons, the problem often lies at the project management level. A study by the Standish Group (2011) on 400 organizations, found a decrease in IT project success rates during the past two years. The study indicated that the top five reasons for project failure are: * Requirements: Unclear, lack of agreement, lack of priority, contradictory, ambiguous, imprecise. * Resources: Lack of resources, resource conflicts, turnover of key resources, poor planning. * Schedules: Too tight, unrealistic, and overly optimistic. * Planning: Based on insufficient data, missing items, insufficient details, poor estimates. * Risks: Unidentified or assumed, not managed.

London Ambulance Service’s 1992 computer aided dispatch (CAD) software system failure demonstrated the damaging effect that a small error in software can have on a large scale project l. However, a closer investigation of events surrounding the system failure indicates that there was more to the failure than an error in software. The aim of this report is to highlight the errors encountered in this project.

Project Management (Planning \ Scheduling)

Project Manager responibilities

The main responsibility of the Project manager is to plan, execute, and finish the project, whilst keeping within the financial budget and pre-determined timelines. In the case of the London Ambulance Service (LAS) the Project Manager (PM) role was not clearly outlined and as such responsibility for the PM actions fell between cracks.

Statement of Work

A Statement of Work (SOW) is a contractually binding legal document between an organisation and their vendor. In the case of the LAS, this was not carried out at the initial stages of the project. The main purpose of a SOW is to determine:

·| What work will be done and by whom|
·| When it will be done - schedule|
·| How the quality of the end product/service will be measured| ·| How much it will cost|
·| What should not be done|


A well written and detailed SOW can be used as a guide when further system changes are requested. This can be the bible from where you take your lead. LAS didn’t have a SOW and this showed when all milestones were not met and the implementation date arrived and the system was not ready for launch.

Problem areas

There are numerous reasons for problem areas, the most common being objectives not being adequately quantified, insufficient time allowed to define such goals and objectives being too rigid. In the case of the LAS each one of these areas brought about a number of systemic issues.

Time Management

The LAS had firm time constraints on introducing the new dispatch system. Not only that, but they were also planning to deliver each aspect of the project in one fell swoop with a “big-bang” launch on 08/01/1992. Good time management is a result of good planning and reporting. It is essentially a collection of activities and the time needed to carry out these tasks. In figure 1, you can see that the majority of project time should be spent on the planning phase....
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