Australian Defence’s Management of its Projects of Concern
ISSN 2203–0352 / ISBN 978-1-76033-437-6 (Online)
March 26, 2019
While the Projects of Concern regime is an appropriate mechanism for escalating troubled projects to the attention of senior managers and ministers,
Defence is not able to demonstrate the effectiveness of its regime in managing the recovery of underperforming projects. Defence remains confident of the regime’s effectiveness but its confidence is based on management perception and anecdotal evidence, as it has not attempted any systematic analysis. Over the last five years, the transparency and rigor of the framework’s application has declined.
Defence no longer has an appropriate framework for its Projects of Concern regime. The regime has two clear purposes: to resolve troubled capability development projects through remediation or cancellation with the explicit involvement of ministers; and to help keep ministers informed. However, its current implementation lacks rigour. From 2008 forward, ministers’ involvement heightened the focus on troubled projects and strengthened the regime. It was more fully developed in 2011, with the introduction of regular summit meetings chaired by ministers to review progress and stimulate action.
Over the last five years, transparency has reduced, the level of formality has declined with explicit criteria replaced by unpublished principles, and processes have become less rigorous with a greater emphasis on maintaining relationships with industry.
There has been inconsistency in Defence’s application of its Projects of Concern regime. In particular, application of processes for entry onto the list have been inconsistent and summit meetings to address Projects of Concern have become less frequent.
Greater consistency has been maintained in preparing remediation plans and removing projects from the list, though there have been exceptions to both.
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