Improving Implementation

Improving Implementation: Organisational Change and Project Management

Edited by John Wanna
Copyright Date: 2007
Published by: ANU Press
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  • Book Info
    Improving Implementation
    Book Description:

    The business of government is necessarily diverse, changing and of considerable scale. A focus on improving the implementation of government programs and initiatives is important because the community expects the Government to deliver on its policies, as does the Government. The papers included in this collection address numerous aspects of improving implementation. They were initially presented at the Project Management and Organisational Change conference held in Canberra in February 2006, the first annual research conference organised by ANZSOG in conjunction with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. This collection represents a comprehensive drawing together of experience and insight from both practitioners and academic researchers, with speakers including top public sector executives from the Australian jurisdictions as well as representatives from the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand.

    eISBN: 978-1-921313-02-8
    Subjects: Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
    John Wanna
  4. List of Contributors
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Foreword
    (pp. xiii-xx)
    Ian McPhee

    I am pleased to provide the foreword for this collection, representing, as it does, a comprehensive drawing together of experience and insight from both practitioners and academic researchers.

    The business of government is necessarily diverse, changing and of considerable scale. Against this background, policy and program implementation, organisational change and project management are recurring themes in the ongoing work of the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO). The factors for success are many and varied, and the consequences of failure can carry significant implications, not least for consumers and the public generally.

    From its audit work, the ANAO has drawn important...

  6. Section I. Setting the Scene
    • 1. Introduction Improving Implementation: the Challenge Ahead
      (pp. 3-10)
      John Wanna

      Shortly after winning the 2004 election Prime Minister John Howard reflected that ‘we tend to look at service delivery as an afterthought rather than a policy priority’. He was referring to difficulties in implementing programs, especially those involved in more than one level of government or spread over several agencies. He made the statement in the context of announcing his new cabinet, including the establishment of the new Ministry of Human Services, which gave his comment added significance.

      Many believe that this marked a new strategic direction for his cabinet and the policy departments. A key feature of this new...

    • 2. Driving Change to Bring About Better Implementation and Delivery
      (pp. 11-20)
      Peter Shergold

      There are three particular reasons I am glad to have the opportunity to ‘set the scene’ for this monograph. First, it is been two years since the last time I spoke out on issues of implementation and delivery,¹ and over two years since I established the Cabinet Implementation Unit. The conference, and this monograph, provide a good opportunity to maintain the impetus towards the better execution of government policy. My experience of bureaucratic inertia is that if one does not keep driving forward one does not stop still: one actually slides backwards down the mountain of good intentions.

      Second, two...

  7. Section II. Governance, Ownership and Oversight
    • 3. Managing Major Programs and Projects: A View From the Boardroom
      (pp. 23-34)
      Christina Gillies

      I sit on a number of boards, including public, private, and not-for-profit, and I can assure you every one is different, however the debate around IT is common to all, and revolves around the question: ‘How do we get a grip on this critical corporate asset that has become an integral part of most businesses and government agencies?’

      The consequences of project and operational failure can bring a company to its knees, yet in the boardroom we often feel like powerless onlookers rather than informed participants.

      We are spending an ever-increasing amount of money on IT and the size of...

    • 4. How Boards and Senior Managers Have Governed
      (pp. 35-46)
      Raymond C Young

      Many boards are aware of the need for more guidance in the area of IT governance (Young and Jordan 2002). This is partly as a result of Sarbanes-Oxley and other international legislative responses to the spate of recent high profile corporate collapses (e.g. Enron, WorldCom, HIH, One-Tel, etc). It is also a reflection of a genuine desire of boards to improve their performance (Leblanc and Gillies 2005).

      A number of good guidelines have been developed. These include a recent publication by CPA Australia (Gillies and Broadbent 2005), COBIT produced by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association COBIT 2000) and...

    • 5. Overcoming the ‘White Elephant’ Syndrome in Big and Iconic Projects in the Public and Private Sectors
      (pp. 47-68)
      Scott Prasser

      This chapter¹ analyses ‘big,’ ‘iconic’ or ‘mega’ projects and their impact on effective project management and also on the effective allocation of funds for priority infrastructure. It is argued that part of the problem of Australia’s perceived present infrastructure shortfall is not just the lack of spending on infrastructure as many suggest. Rather, it is as much about the misallocation of spending on ‘big’ and so called ‘iconic’ or prestige projects that too often become expensive ‘white elephants’ requiring considerable post-completion maintenance and support and further wasting valuable resources that could be used elsewhere. Such projects, because of their status,...

  8. Section III. Organisational Alignment — Organisational Change
    • 6. Organisational Alignment: How Project Management Helps
      (pp. 71-78)
      Abul Rizvi

      As many of you will know, in February 2005 the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Senator Amanda Vanstone commissioned Mr Mick Palmer to investigate the circumstances of the immigration detention of Ms Cornelia Rau.

      During the process of this investigation, another report, by Mr Neil Comrie, into the Circumstances of the Vivian Alvarez Matter, was also commissioned.

      Mr Palmer delivered his report in July 2005 and Mr Comrie in October. These reports were highly critical of the Department and made a number of recommendations – most of which addressed shortcomings they saw in DIMA’s culture and organisational practices.

      Both reports...

    • 7. ‘Crazy Thought or Creative Thinking’: Reform in the Real World
      (pp. 79-90)
      Patricia Scott

      In this chapter, I intend to focus on the following;

      practical ways to drive reform;

      ensuring alignment to government objectives;

      exerting influence when you cannot simply use control; and

      how to use cultural differences between agencies to speed reforms.

      The Department of Human Services (DHS) occupies a unique space. It is chiefly concerned with issues affecting service delivery and improving the connection between policy and service delivery so that we get better outcomes. The core department is tiny – around 75 permanent staff. But small does not mean insignificant, as we are working with six agencies that employ 37,400 staff in...

    • 8. The Australian Taxation Office Change Program: Project and Change Management Directions and Learnings, A Case Study
      (pp. 91-106)
      Bob Webb

      Corporate policies, the literature and any number of very capable consultants provide frameworks to successfully tackle project and change management.

      Nobody doubts the increasing significance of project management in a world where change and flexibility at speed have become a part of life, and an expectation on all organisations. So if the literature and experience are to be believed, why is it so hard to succeed?

      This chapter uses the sometimes successful, sometimes painful, but never dull experience of the Tax Office as a case study.

      In particular, it tells the story of lessons from the introduction of major tax...

    • 9. Applying Three Frames to the Delivery of Public Value
      (pp. 107-112)
      Jim Varghese

      I recently attended an ANZSOG CEO workshop where I was particularly encouraged and interested in the work of Harvard University academic Mark Moore on public value. Moore (1995) offers the notion of public managers creating public value for society (for the short and long term) for strategic management in Government. Drawing on Moore’s definition, public value is understood to be the achievement of favoured outcomes by the use of public resources in the most effective manner available (Moore 1995).

      In this presentation, I would like explore the idea of using a management process called the ‘Three Frames’ to deliver innovative...

    • 10. Building Capacity for Policy Implementation
      (pp. 113-120)
      Anne Tiernan

      In Australia and internationally, the discourse of ‘declining policy capacity’ is pervasive. Politicians, practitioners and scholars have expressed concern about the ability of the public service to support policy processes through its analysis, advisory and service delivery functions. There is particular concern about policy implementation – about the ability and willingness of the public service to promptly deliver on government commitments and priorities, and about the extent to which policy and program design is informed by operational realities. Anxieties about the potential for ‘disconnect’ between policy and service delivery have been heightened by recent high-profile failures in sensitive areas of government...

  9. Section IV. Better Project and Program Delivery
    • 11. Program Management and Organisational Change: New Directions for Implementation
      (pp. 123-132)
      Lynelle Briggs

      Effective and responsive program management is not simply about technique. Rather, we are here concerned with the much harder job of changing our organisations. This leads neatly to the question of why do we need to change? What problems, what issues, what challenges are we responding to?

      The answer to these questions will, of course, vary depending on the very specific contexts of our agencies, and the public sector jurisdiction in which we work. There are, however, a number of ‘generic’ factors common to Australia and other advanced countries that are driving change across Australia’s public sector.

      I want to...

    • 12. What is a Project Management Culture and How do we Develop it and Keep it Alive
      (pp. 133-146)
      Kathleen Kuryl

      In 1999 the Tasmanian Department of Premier and Cabinet, (DPAC) initiated a Project with the rather long title of Project Management Information and Resources Project (PMIRP). The Objective for the PMIRP was to improve accessibility to, and improve the quality of, information on project management tools and techniques and on available training for Tasmanian Government project participants.

      Longer-term benefits from the Project were identified as:

      improved standards for project management across the Tasmanian State Service; and

      increased knowledge and skills in project management methodology, through training and development covering all project participants. Outputs included a new website featuring electronic copies...

    • 13. Project Management and the Australian Bureau of Statistics: Doing What Works
      (pp. 147-156)
      Dennis Trewin

      Project management has to be a core competency for an organisation like the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and, indeed, for all our organisations. And I am not just talking about IT projects, I am talking about operational projects, particularly large projects like the population census which we are doing later this year. Now I said IT projects, but that is probably a bad term to use. What we really should be talking about is business projects with IT as an enabler.

      I will first go through some of the reasons for needing a project management framework, that is, why...

    • 14. Intervention Logic/ Program Logic: Toward Good Practice
      (pp. 157-176)
      Karen Baehler

      The pursuit of better government is unquestionably a noble pursuit, and one which springs, at least most of the time, from the better angels of our nature to which Abraham Lincoln once referred. Noble intentions do not necessarily guarantee good results, however, and so we find that many bright ideas for improving government processes and operations only barely see the light of day before fading into obscurity. My colleague Bob Gregory (2004) has called the roll of these now-forgotten innovations – zero-based budgeting, management by objectives (MBO), total quality management (TQM), and planning programming and budgeting systems (PPBS), for starters – and...

  10. Section V. Implementation Review
    • 15. Implementing Gateway in the Australian Government
      (pp. 179-188)

      This chapter examines the Australian Government’s approach and experience to date in implementing the Gateway Review Process (Gateway).

      The Australian Government undertook research in 2005 to identify ways to improve the delivery of major projects (as measured by successful project delivery on time and within budget) by Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 agencies (FMA agencies). From the options available to the Government for meeting this objective, the decision was made by Cabinet to implement Gateway, which had been developed in the United Kingdom by the Office of Government Commerce in 2000 and subsequently applied by the Victorian Government in...

    • 16. Governments Can Deliver: Better Practice in Project and Program Delivery
      (pp. 189-198)
      Ian Glenday

      The concept of independent peer reviews leading to improved benefits from major projects and programs is established by some leading enterprises. The British Government’s Office of Government Commerce (OGC) have taken this concept and delivered it for nearly 2000 major reviews in British Government. Significant performance improvement has been delivered together with £3 billion savings.

      This chapter examines the strategy for OGC Gateway Brand management, the lessons learnt from the large-scale roll out and the plans for the next phase.

      The conclusion is that Governments can improve delivery of policy using this strategy provided robust political and senior official support...

    • 17. The Gateway Review Process in Victoria
      (pp. 199-218)
      Wayne Sharpe

      The Victorian Government spends billions annually on procuring infrastructure, information systems, real property, goods and services. Contemporary government procurement is now well accepted as a strategic management function requiring a commitment by departments, large and small, to effective procurement planning, innovative contracting strategies, active contract management and continuous improvement of procurement processes.

      Implementing the Gateway Review Process is a key strategy for improving infrastructure and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) project development and delivery across government. The initial focus of the Gateway Review Process is on high-risk and medium-risk infrastructure, procurement and information technology/change management projects. The aim is to...

    • 18. The Australian Government Cabinet Implementation Unit
      (pp. 219-228)
      Peter Hamburger

      My purpose is to address a particular managerial initiative in the Australian Public Service – the Cabinet implementation Unit – an initiative that is now about two-and-a-half years old and that reports to me.

      One might, therefore, expect me to talk about the management role of the Unit but, in fact, I am going to start with the politics.

      I will do that because, contrary to the expectations and hopes of many public servants, the Cabinet is primarily a political, not a managerial, institution and a body called the Cabinet Implementation Unit will therefore be located at the boundaries of politics and...

    • 19. Organising for Policy Implementation: The Emergence and Role of Implementation Units in Policy Design and Oversight
      (pp. 229-256)
      Evert Lindquist

      Over 40 years ago the spotlight was put on gathering scholarly interest on policy implementation with the publication of Pressman and Wildavsky’s (1973) seminal book on Implementation: How Great Expectations in Washington Are Dashed in Oakland.¹ In its slipstream came Bardach’s (1977) Implementation Game outlining the myriad ways in which policy initiatives could be diverted, deflected, dissipated, and delayed. Despite his pessimism about the promise of big policy solutions more generally, and the prospects for improving implementation in particular, Bardach nevertheless suggested creating capabilities related to implementation in two institutional locations for the purpose of ‘game-fixing’: in staff policy analysis...

  11. Appendix A: Annex: A Guide for Drafting Case Study Papers
    (pp. 257-260)