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AFP IT Project Failure – IT Contractors Culled

By Jamie Wheeler 9 April 2008 33

The Canberra Times today ran a story about major IT contractor sackings at AFP. The debacle was attributed to “funding cuts ” and “unexpected delays”. A mate who was sacked from there recently told me a very different story. He recons AFP management rather than techos are to blame for the fiasco. Bad management, lack of planning and chronic indecisiveness brought down the project. The sacked IT contractors were just fall guys. Anybody else have any similar experience with AFP IT? I image when they hire in future they’ll have trouble locating people willing to be fall guys.


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33 Responses to
AFP IT Project Failure – IT Contractors Culled
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ant 12:14 pm 12 Apr 08

Holy crap. At el and Jamie. What the hell is going on there? No wonder we don’t have a viable police force. Let’s get rid of the AFP all together, let AG’s have “the Feds”, and outsource ACT policing to Queanbeyan.

Jamie Wheeler 11:01 am 12 Apr 08

el – from what I heard the HQ debacle was nothing compared to AFP’s IT failure. At least the HQ was started and something got produced. It didn’t meet requirements but somebody else could rent the building. AFP never got their IT project out of the starting gate. People were hired to start the project but given no work to do…. then sacked as the budget blew. Rudd government cutbacks just make a convenient cover story. Failure doesn’t come much bigger. Now the place is a train wreck and EVERYBODY wants out. Never to return.

el 1:53 am 12 Apr 08

No Ant, even better.

It was started, refurbished, extended and completed.

Then they realised it wasn’t big enough.

ant 5:17 pm 10 Apr 08

Speaking of AFP HQ, wasn’t there a huge stuffup regarding the building of their grand new quarters? Started, and then aborted? At great cost?

Mælinar 4:00 pm 10 Apr 08

Chaser team working on some new material ?

Thumper 3:53 pm 10 Apr 08

Yeah, I posted something about it at 1300 but obviously no mods around.

madman 3:37 pm 10 Apr 08

It seems ths AFP HQ had a big failure today with a suspicious package taken away for testing.

2 men in bio-hazard suits went down to the delivery dock and came back out with a sealed up container and then walked out got hosed off and dropped the container in a big bucket and air sealed it. It then got put into the back of an AFP car and spead off probably to the lab in weston or some other AFP site.

It was pretty cool seeing the operation unfold with the hazmat truck all set up, breathing aparatas technician and controlers. They had the Fire commander there as well as the ambulance commander.

The police quardoned off the area and held 2 people in what looked to be delivery uniforms.

AFP media as well as win news was on the scene so hopefully they got the full story and there will be something on television tonight!!!

Mælinar 2:01 pm 10 Apr 08

DawnDrifter has a point – I’ve seen so many instances of people just being in the same department for 20 years finding their way into the IT section its not funny.

On the one hand, they’re there on the merits of knowing intimately every aspect of the organisation because they’ve been there for so long (serves you reasonably well until your past the business rules phase but then their inconsistencies will surface), but on the other hand they’re also there so they don’t phuck up on any projects – then ironically they get given the most serious project the Department can ever do.

All the more fool their managers.

On the contracting angle, if they were offered a 1year contract, there must be a buyout clause in it which would be worth a lot of dollah, if that fails your contracting company has lost wages insurance anyway. I’d not be too bitter at those prospects, especially on an IT contractor wage.

Even more fool their managers, because not only will they have to shell out breaking contract fees, they are still in square one on the IT front, with all the problems they decided to upgrade in the first place with, and have to start again from scratch.

DawnDrifter 1:01 pm 10 Apr 08

Big IT Projects, managed by mostly rubbish inexperienced public servants(PM and senior IT managers) whos only purpose in life is to grab their 10am coffee and make sure their tips are in before friday night footy starts… they then wonder why things dont work then fire contractors as a result…

I will admit tho, have worked with some absolutely brilliant IT managers(ex Navy and Army) but the rest have been far from impressive(usually promoted just for being in the same Dept for 20 years)

Happens everywhere…
contractors move along, get paid more to do the same(start projects, get caught up in bureaucracy, move along, rinse-repeat) deal with the same road blocks and not much gets achieved on time on budget… Defence, ATO, Immigration, AFP,

good town to work in if you are a IT geek

MRB 12:39 am 10 Apr 08

Jamie, there has been a lot of cuts since the new government commenced, some reported, others not. This will inevitably include projects (amongst other things) within government agencies – could it simply be to do with this?

el 11:24 pm 09 Apr 08

Yes Ant, but that doesn’t actually matter. It still costs the department that much.

Perhaps everyone could stop getting so defensive for a moment? You’re all reacting as if I’ve said that they’re overpaid f-füc’ksake.

HA 10:37 pm 09 Apr 08

AFP cut loose a senior IT manager about three years ago. She threatened them, and instead of NOT providing a reference for her next job as an IT guru, they in fact went quiet that she’d been an alleged failure, and she got hired as an SES officer in an even larger (than ther AFP) department. She lasted in that organisation in IT (it has a huge program worth hundreds of millions underway) for all of 18 months, and was yanked out. She was put in charge of ‘special projects’. She was recently resurrected, but NOT in an IT role, and has been as much a failure in her latest reincarnation as anywhere else. Long story, short moral: if the AFP had been honest in the first instance with this person, she’d be serving coffees, where she probably fits best.

ant 10:11 pm 09 Apr 08

People think contractors get the big bucks, because they see the bills from the agencies and assume most of it goes to the worker. Nope! Or the bloke on call to come in and fix something charges $100 an hour. But he might not get many of those hours in a week.

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