Friday, March 02, 2007

Project Management at UK Ministry of Defence

Graham Lay presented on "Joint Personnel Administration (JPA) Initiative - Case Study" at the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) Canberra Chapter, 28 February 2007. Graham is Managing Director of EDS Defence U.K. EDS won a contract to redevelop the UK MoD's personnel and pay system.

EDS arranged to install Oracle's personnel package for the $4B project. But Graham emphasized that a military personnel has to handle complexities unknown to a civilian system, such as issuing medals. Pay is very important to military personnel, who will not perform at their best in a remote and dangerous environment if worrying that their families have no money or their car has been repossessed back in the UK because they were not paid on time.

... EDS today announced a major enhancement to its relationship with The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) that will vastly improve the service provided to sailors, soldiers, and air force personnel by the Armed Forces Personnel Administration Agency (AFPAA).

EDS will implement a Joint Personnel Administration (JPA) system for AFPAA which will deliver GBP600 million savings to the MoD over 10 years. The JPA implementation - rolling out across the RAF, RN and Army in turn between 2006 and 2007 - will modernise and harmonise what are at present multiple standalone systems. This implementation is consistent with the terms of the service delivery contract awarded to EDS in Nov 1997 and which runs to November 2009.

JPA represents a key element of the MoD's Defence Change Programme and, as a flagship project, is being cited as a benchmark for future relationships between government and the IT supplier community.

Under the terms of the JPA enhancement, EDS and AFPAA have made a joint commitment to overhauling the Agency's end-to-end processes and delivering an improved and dynamic service that will benefit all UK armed forces personnel.

Graham Lay, Managing Director of EDS Defence, said: "The relationship between AFPAA and EDS on JPA marks a turning point in the way suppliers and government work together to achieve the maximum benefit from partnering with each other. ...

Key facts

- Administers more than 340,000 live pay records
- Maintains over 570,000 master personnel records
- Maintains more than 725,000 pension records
- Accounts for GBP5.7 billion in military pay and allowances
- Provides IT services and supports over 8,000 desktop PCs

From: EDS Strikes Strategic Partnership With Ministry of Defence to Deliver Joint Personnel Administration System for UK Armed Forcese, News Release, EDS 28 October 2004
Graham emphasized that while the IT aspects of the project were challenging, the major problems were with organizational change and staff motivation. The system's aim had to be seem by the military as aiding their mission of defending the country, rather than just saving some money for the Treasury. The rivallray of the army, navy and air force had to be overcome to unify the pay and conditions of the tree services so a single simplified system could be used.

Graham explained it was not all without problems. As an example personnel were told to log in to the new system to change their password after a particular time. In the civilian environment, staff could be expected to do that throughout the day. But military people are trained to carry out tasks precisely at a specified time. So all the personnel tried to log on at the specified time, causing a system overload.

The RAF has declared it will have its stalled human resources computer systems fully operational by the end of the week, seven weeks after it went live.

But the MOD still has to determine what the problem was before it can guarantee that the Joint Personnel Administration system (JPA) can be rolled out on schedule to the Army and Navy later this year.
Click here to find out more!

The HR system, installed by EDS, has only been able to manage taxiing speed while engineers figure out what went wrong.

Wing Commander Trevor Field, a RAF spokesman and administrator, said he was unhappy with press interest in the delay and "bored" RAF "whingers" on chat sites like the Professional Pilots Rumour Network (PPRuNe), which he said make things appear worse than they are.

"It adds fuel to a fire that is now smouldering, and by the end of the week will be solved completely," he said.

EDS and RAF staff are also trying to figure out why JPA was unable to cope with its inaugural workload, Field said. It was supposed to allow personnel to do their own "self-service" HR administration, but the system buckled with the effort of servicing them. That meant they had trouble checking their personal information to ensure the system did what it ought to on their behalf.

Approximately 1,000 personnel subsequently had problems with the basic payroll, which Field said involved less than 0.2 per cent ...

From: EDS's Air Force system should fly by 'weekend', Mark Ballard , 11th May 2006
Graham is in Australia to talk to the Australian Defence Department about systems. One of my first jobs on joining Australian Defence Force HQ in Canberra was to help review the personnel system then in development. My report was not favorable a the project was canceled. The replacement project started out well, but was then canceled after a few years. After I left Defence they had more success adapting an off-the-shelf package, much as Graham recounted for the UK.

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