The case is examined of the UK Department of Communities and Local Government (CLG) FiReControl Project (which was terminated in December 2010 at a loss of £469 million) in the light of the influential report by the Institute for Government’s (IfG) System Error: fixing the flaws in government IT report which argues that the UK government should tackle its continuing history of failed IT project implementation by adopting an ‘agile’ approach to IT/IS development projects in conjunction with the adoption of common hardware/software platforms across all IT/IS applications. We attempt to assess the likelihood of success with the agile + common platform approach by modelling how the approach could have been applied to the failed FiReControl project. This exercise makes use of publicly available central and local government sources and the opportunities and challenges in accessing and analysing data from these sources are reviewed. This preliminary analysis identifies some of sources of difficulty with the FiReControl. This includes the attempt to merge the working practices of each of 49 local autonomous fire and rescue services (FRS) into one national call-handling and mobilisation system and the role of the CLG as a barrier between developers and users. Another difficulty relates to the challenge of trying to implement an IT solution based on the customisation of a number of existing off-the-shelf system components.
Hughes, Robert, "Could Agile Development Have Prevented The Firecontrol Project Failure?" (2012). UK Academy for Information Systems Conference Proceedings 2012. 26.