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United Kingdom Government Software

World's Biggest 'Agile' Software Project Close To Failure 349

Posted by Soulskill
from the be-careful-not-to-learn-anything-from-this dept.
00_NOP writes "'Universal Credit' — the plan to consolidate all Britain's welfare payments into one — is the world's biggest 'agile' software development project. It is now close to collapse, the British government admitted yesterday. The failure, if and when it comes, could cost billions and have dire social consequences. 'Some steps have been taken to try to rescue the project. The back end – the benefits calculation – has reportedly been shifted to a "waterfall" development process – which offers some assurances that the government at least takes its fiduciary duties seriously as it should mean no code will be deployed that has not been finished. The front end – the bit used by humans – is still meant to be “agile” – which makes some sense, but where is the testing? Agile is supposed to be about openness between developer and client and we – the taxpayers – are the clients: why can’t we see what our money is paying for?'"
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World's Biggest 'Agile' Software Project Close To Failure

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  • by kthreadd (1558445) on Saturday May 25, 2013 @09:35AM (#43821131)

    But it might make it clear that it will fail much earlier and then at a lower cost.

  • by Michael Monaghan (2932285) on Saturday May 25, 2013 @09:44AM (#43821183)
    Pretty much this exactly. Also, it's tough to get programmers and managers who have never worked in an Agile environment to buy into it. My company started using it 4 years ago and we still have a few holdouts despite the obvious benefits in both productivity, cost and simply a better work environment for everyone. Hell, I think the best part about the Agile process is those one or two guys on a piece of a project that never seem to do anything and could end up causing drama simply doesn't happen in a proper Agile setup since there is daily accountability and you're working on smaller pieces.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 25, 2013 @09:54AM (#43821245)

    It's the usual crowd screwing money out of the government



  • Re:Simple formula (Score:4, Informative)

    by Epeeist (2682) on Saturday May 25, 2013 @10:26AM (#43821411) Homepage

    Government department + software project = total failure. .

    I would love to know how cheaply this same project could be done. Probably by one person. Probably a $10,000 project with the final project size 100 times smaller, run 100 times faster, 100 times more accurate. [That is what I achieved after a payroll application they tried to force on our dept. was discarded and we rolled our own.]

    Not a real biggie, just a replacement for Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credits, Housing Benefit for the whole of the UK population. I mean how hard can it be? Given your obvious talents I am sure you could knock something together using a few Excel macros by next Tuesday.

    One of the things about this is that it is being driven by an ideologue who doesn't give a toss about evidence, not quite the person who thinks all government sponsored software development but pretty close.

  • by devent (1627873) on Saturday May 25, 2013 @11:35AM (#43821927) Homepage

    This should be suppose an article about "agile" and the Universal Credit. After reading the article there is no information what-so-ever, except that the Universal Credit project has been admitted to be failing.

    So why is Universal Credit an "agile" project?
    Why it is failing?
    What is Universal Credit anyway?

    Maybe that is why Twitter is so successful, the whole article is just a Twitter message: "Universal Credit, suppose to be biggest Agile Software Project, is failing".

    Here is some more information:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/apr/29/universal-credit-pilot-scheme [guardian.co.uk]
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/30/universal-credit-iain-duncan-smith [guardian.co.uk]

    Is it called "agile" because it's a "step-by-step approach" ?

  • by Aighearach (97333) on Saturday May 25, 2013 @12:53PM (#43822469) Homepage

    That's right, it's all just programming, motherfucker [programmin...fucker.com]

  • by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Saturday May 25, 2013 @01:42PM (#43822837)

    I'd want to see a cite for that one.

    This is not an area where it is possible to give "a cite" since there are whole genres of literature covering this topic alone. If you haven't read ."The Mythical Man Month" [wikipedia.org] (please note; the book has a Wikipedia page; this is not an Amazon link) then that is where you should start. Not because it is complete, not because it is up to date, but because it will make you realise that the problems of today's IT were already fully described in the '70s and that our advances in the last decades have been incremental and mostly small.

    Next time you drive over a bridge, be glad they used a waterfall-like development paradigm.

    Bridges do not work the same as software development. Whilst each individual bridge has some differences in environment and location, in general you are just repeating a structure which has already been build long ago. In sofware the equivalent of building a new bridge is the "cp -ar" command. Agile is mostly designed to address development of new features on pre-existing software which is completely different.

They laughed at Einstein. They laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown. -- Carl Sagan