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LINZ reports a host of IT projects delivered late and over budget

Two projects were cancelled while others were delivered late and over budget
As LINZ embarks on a $128 million system rebuild, it reports a slew of smaller IT projects delivered over budget and late

As LINZ embarks on a $128 million system rebuild, it reports a slew of smaller IT projects delivered over budget and late

Land Information New Zealand, which is embarking on a major redevelopment of its core property register, appears to struggle to bring IT projects home on time and on budget.

In answer to Parliamentary questions as part of its annual review, the organisation reported a slew of IT projects that were over budget, late or cancelled.

A 14 month "Registrar General and Risk, Audit and Assurance - Claims and Assurance Database" that was budgeted at $646,300 took took 26 months and cost $836,834.

LINZ explained the increase in cost was a result of: confirmation of detailed requirements through the design phase; an increase in resource rates due to a renegotiation of its Datacom Master Services Agreement; and the inclusion of a 10 per cent "contingency-fee" for a fixed-price Statement of Work intended to mitigate the risk of the solution being more complex than originally thought.

"Following the design phase, the project was recognised as more complex than initially planned, and User Acceptance Testing uncovered technical issues that took time to resolve," LINZ explained.

"The project took a conservative approach to re-planning the schedule following design and resolution of UAT issues, which resulted in extended timelines."

Another project for desktop coming called "Best Anywhere DaaS, CcaaS, and TaaS" was budgeted at $1.06 million but cost $1.2 million. It was expected to take 12 months but was delivered in 23 months in late 2017.

"The technical complexity of the solution delivered in the Landonline and Corporate Desktop as a Service (Daas) migrations exceeded initial vendor estimates," LINZ explained.

"To manage overall quality the project slowed its schedule to resolve unexpected issues, and to allow for additional change management communication with stakeholders."

Meanwhile, a project called "Modernising Access to LOL - Entrust SMC" was to take 12 months but will be delivered in 42 months in December 2019.

"The project opted to increase scope to include a proof of concept as a risk and quality assurance treatment, which increased the planned timeline," LINZ explained. "Following proof of concept the project noted an increase of solution complexity, and halted progress to re-plan, and review increased costs."

The project has now been split into two components to manage risk and quality, the first of which received approval for additional funding to move forward in August 2018.

The second was reported to be forming a business case for decision in November 2018, but later in LINZ answers this appears to have been postponed further.

"In August 2018, an additional $870,146 capex was given to the Entrust SMC Project and an updated timeline for the project was developed," LINZ added. "The RealMe project will produce a Business Case for by March 2019."

While the budget numbers are relatively low, several other projects were reported as delayed and over budget and two were reported as cancelled at fairly minimal cost.

LINZ is embarking on a mega project to rebuild its land and titles register system Landonline for a budgeted cost of $128 million. In 2013, it estimated the cost to replace the system at $42 million.

"LINZ will maintain control and ownership of the new system and have the ability to make changes and deliver better functionality more quickly to meet customer needs," the business case for the project said.

LINZ has said the development will use an agile methodology and deliver customer value and benefits as soon as possible. By mid-2020, a range of benefits will be in place from the first stage.

"De-risking" the current system was a major driver.

Landonline is now 20 years old and is expensive and slow to respond to changing requirements, the business case stated. Furthermore, its core software language, the now SAP-owned PowerBuilder, is not recommended for any new development.