Last Updated 16 Apr 2020

The Universal Credit Program: Project Management

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Management This report is addressed to the Universal Credit Project Board. Number of words: 1582 Executive Summary The Universal Credit Programme has failed in many eyes because of a lack of good project management. I researched the reasons of the lack of good project management and come to some good conclusions on the following subjects: 1. Project Initiation The programme was underestimated and the goals where to optimistic, the effects of the project initiation are clearly linked back of the complications which appeared later on the project.

For example the project has changed project manager 5 times because of a lack of transparency. The lack of transparency can be linked back to setting to many goals in the project initiation. The project should have research the details better on making an IT programme this big. 2. Project organisation and structure The programme has been approached with an agile method, a lot like scrum-method. The biggest mistake that was made is the lack of use of an agile project framework. It is logical that a programme from this size always includes Waterfall project management'.

But in the Universal Credit programme the waterfall-managing ethod was counterworking the agile approach that was used. The project also lacks of a good stakeholders communication department, the communication with the stakeholders has been a big problem with the Universal Credit programme. More details about these conclusions can be found in the rest of the report. Introduction to the report For the course Project Management (344SAM) I am asked to write an report addressed to the Universal Credit Project Board. This is regarding the bad publicity the project has gotten lately from the press.

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The case study consists of an article form Brian Wernham where he claims that the Universal Credit Program has suffered from bad Project Management and a "lack of transparency'. In my research I will only use the information available till 5 September 2013, because this is the date when the report was published. In my research I will be focussing on the following 2 subjects: 1. Project initiation Brief background on project For this project I will be do research on the project management of the Universal Credit Programme.

This program is developed to make a single monthly payment instead of all sorts separately benefits and tax credit top-ups payments. This rogram includes a 'subsidy to work, people will be encouraged to work this way. To establish this project there must be a solid and reliable IT system. A lot of calculations have to been made and a lot of external influences must be taken in account. I'm going to research: What where the project goals, scope, organisation, business case, constraints? Which organisation and structure has been used?

At the end of the report I will write my conclusions and recommendations. Project Initiation When the project was initiated at the end of 2012, there was a lot criticism on the project. This was mainly because of a lack of transparency; people didn't really know what the programme meant. 1 1(The Ethical Deficit of the Proposed Universal Credit, Harley Dean, 2012, The Political Quarterly, Vol. 83, No. 2) The project initiation can be divided in 5 segments, which I will describe separately.

Project Goals They are a lot of project goals for the universal credits programme: Good outcomes for claimants, Improved health (mental health especially), Increase the overall level of competencies and qualifications. Get more people from welfare into work. Reduce the amount of people getting homeless. And there are a lot of smaller goals stated in the report. They want to aim to process 95% of new housing benefits within 1 5 days. Also all the claims will merely be online processed. 3 Scope Entrepreneurial Council Board, Corporate Strategy and Governance Board.

Project Organisation The project organisation consists of: 1 . Project Manager 2. Administrative employee 3. Trainee's for staff 4. Online development 5. Communications and marketing 6. WMT The Entrepreneurial Council Board and WMT monitor the project. Business case There is no business case in the Project initiation document (PID). Constraints The PID says: "The current financial constraint being placed on the Council means we need to be creative about how we continue to deliver our services" 2 The budget and the quality are fixed. l will discuss this part in part 2. ) 2 (Project Initiation document. rtf, Alan Robinson, 2012, https:// knowledgenub. local. gov. uk/) 3 (Project Initation document (PID), Ali Ghanimi (project manager), John Magness (Project sponsor), August 2012, https://knowledgehub. local. gov. uk/) Criticism on the project initiation I will criticise all the parts of the project initiation separately. The project has a lot of goals and sub-goals. This (as seen in the future) will lead to a lack of transparency because there can't be send out one universal project goal.

Also because of this high amount of goals there will be a lack of focus within the own organisation and even at the project manager. Project organisation The project organisation is monitored by the WMT itself; it could be useful to have influences from external parties. Also as seen in the future the complexity of the IT- part of this program is underestimated in this report. There should be more focus on how this IT-part is going to be set up and what kind of recourses are needed to chieve this. There is stated that no detailed business case is required.

As shown in the future it would have been useful if they have done this part more detailed. The report would have set more directions for the programme as a whole. The price and quality are going to be fixed, getting the price fixed for an programme this size will require a lot of research in advance of the programme starting. This will take a lot of time and money and will exceed the 100million maximum development money that was agreed of in 2012 by the council office. 4 The universal credit has spent over 425 million pound on the development of

Universal Credit, this could have been prevented by focussing more on the use of project management frameworks and a detailed business case which is supported with reliable research. 1 1 (Universal Credit, Incremental IT, Brian Wernham,2013, Course work briefing 344SAM, moodie) project INITIATION DOCUMENT (Pid) Project organisation and structure As seen in the previous part the project used 'an agile development approach'. The costs and quality were fixed in advance. This is to ensure that the final product is really going to work.

The development method, scrum, has been used, this is a flexible way of developing a roduct. The scrum was used without the use of a project management framework such as the Dynamic Systems Development. The programming was done by the scrum-like approach but as seen in section one of this report; this project has a lot of 'big picture goals'; these goals fixed and are mainly in the Waterfall' world. The board wanted a big up front design, which is crossing the scrum-like programming approach which is changing it's goals and methods in an much higher speed.

This big picture is counterworking the programmers. Below a illustration how the water-scrum-fall model works. In the Universal Credit System the 'scrum' didn't have a change to be agile, once they went in a direction it was impossible to "swim back". 2 1 (Water-scrum-fall model, Cristian Mesaros, Marketing Manager ,2013, www. iquestgroup. com/en/iquest-news/water-scrum-fall-model-life-sciences') 2 (Universal Credit, Incremental IT, Brian Wernham,2013, Course work briefing 344SAM, moodle) The Overall governance structure is shown in the image below.

It must be said that the project manager has been replaced 5 times in over a year of this programme running, how is this possible? The lack of transparency from day 1 has resulted in nclear targets. The project has been monitored by the WMT, this monitoring should have been more in collaborating with the lower-level mangers who where working with a way more flexible approach. Also is there a lack of a good stakeholders communication department, the communication with the stakeholders has been very bad and should have gotten more attention. (Preparing for Universal credit, London Borough of Lewisham local authority led pilot, August 2012, https://knowledgenub. local. gov. uk/) Conclusions The Universal Credit System is a project that has cost 4 times what was counted on. How is this possible and where can we put the blame? I'm going to give my conclusions on this research in 2 departments: Project Initiation The project had too much goals, which has lead to haziness for the overall The project has a lot of goals and sub-goals. This (as seen in the future) will lead to a lack of transparency because there cant be send out one universal project goal.

Also money that was agreed of in 2012 by the council office. Project organisation and structure The project has changed 5 times of project manager because of a lack of transparency, intern and extern. Credit programme. I think the board underestimated he complexity ot this programme; overall the Universal Credit programme should have used project management a lot more. Recommendations Below a list of recommendations I make on what could have done better on the Universal Credit programme: Divide the programme in separate parts, with separate goals.

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The Universal Credit Program: Project Management. (2018, Jun 22). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/the-universal-credit-program-project-management/

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