Could agile development have prevented the FireControl project failure?

Robert Hughes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNpeer-review


The case is examined of the UK Department of Communities and Local Government (CLG) FiReControl Project (which was terminated in December 2010 at a loss of £469 million) in the light of the influential report by the Institute for Government's (IfG) ‘System Error: fixing the flaws in government IT' report which argues that the UK government should tackle its continuing history of failed IT project implementation by adopting an ‘agile' approach to IT/IS development projects in conjunction with the adoption of common hardware/software platforms across all IT/IS applications. We attempt to assess the likelihood of success with the agile + common platform approach by modelling how the approach could have been applied to the failed FiReControl project. This exercise makes use of publicly available central and local government sources and the opportunities and challenges in accessing and analysing data from these sources are reviewed. This preliminary analysis identifies some of sources of difficulty with the FiReControl. This includes the attempt to merge the working practices of each of 49 local autonomous fire and rescue services (FRS) into one national call-handling and mobilisation system and the role of the CLG as a barrier between developers and users. Another difficulty relates to the challenge of trying to implement an IT solution based on the customisation of a number of existing off-the-shelf system components.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 17th UK Academy for Information Systems Conference
Place of PublicationOxford, UK
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2012
EventProceedings of the 17th UK Academy for Information Systems Conference - New College, Oxford, 27-28 March, 2012
Duration: 1 Mar 2012 → …


ConferenceProceedings of the 17th UK Academy for Information Systems Conference
Period1/03/12 → …


  • project management
  • agile
  • project failure
  • government IT


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