November 12, 2009Doug Hadden
We attended the 3rd Global Conference on Electronic Government Procurement (e-GP) held at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington DC. The event was sponsored by the Multilateral Development Banks e-GP Working Group. Our previous post focused on government objectives when implementing e-GP.
There was a rich discussion about implementation problems encountered when automating public procurement. Many speakers shared their experiences – including unexpected issues. Good implementation practices are emerging.
e-GP professionals described the obstacles to implementing automated public procurement systems. The two major themes were:
- Culture change and the difficulty to motivate stakeholders. Most stakeholders see little need to change the status quo and are quick to object.
- Trust of automated systems. Suppliers and buyers distrust the introduction of computerized systems. These systems are often viewed as not secure, skewed to different stakeholder agendas, not reliable and a means to eliminate workers.
Speakers at the conference highlighted specific project management disciplines – particularly the need to communicate. One speaker recommended a “consistent rhythm” of communication. All project management solutions proposed including communications management.
Change management was emphasized by many speakers. These speakers described the need for:
- Training, including e-learning
- Consulting with stakeholders and end-users to ensure all needs are addressed
- Developing incentives for career advancement in the public service
Speakers described specific good practices in scope management including:
- Communicating clear objectives
- Phased approach with quick wins to achieve buy-in and show benefits to stakeholders – many speakers demonstrated how this approach enabled changing the scope of phases based on lessons learned
- Benchmarking and comparing with the previous methods and e-GP systems in use around the world
Speakers described numerous e-GP benefits for stakeholders. The “marketing” to stakeholders was not considered sufficient to overcome trust issues without communications, change and scope management.