Why do governments screw up IT projects?

This morning’s Observer column:

This is a tale of two cities – Washington and London – and of the governments that rule from them. What links the pair is the puzzling failure of said governments to manage two vital IT projects. In both cases, the projects are critically important for the political credibility of their respective administrations. And yet they are both in trouble for reasons that most engineering and computer science undergraduates could have spotted.

So here’s the puzzle: how is it that governments stuffed with able and conscientious civil servants screw up so spectacularly whenever IT is involved?

Let us start with Obamacare, the US president’s landmark reform of his country’s dysfunctional healthcare system…

Read on…

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