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Managing Information Technology Projects in the Public Sector

William Cats-Baril and Ronald Thompson
Public Administration Review
Vol. 55, No. 6 (Nov. - Dec., 1995), pp. 559-566
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Society for Public Administration
DOI: 10.2307/3110347
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3110347
Page Count: 8
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Managing Information Technology Projects in the Public Sector
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Abstract

Are frameworks developed in the private sector for managing information technology (IT) projects appropriate for public sector efforts? The management of IT projects is an increasingly important issue in the public sector, especially as budgetary constraints become more stringent and failed IT project implementations receive widespread publicity. Although frameworks for project risk assessment and project management exist for the private sector, such frameworks do not explicitly recognize the inherent differences between managing in public and private organizations. In this article, the authors use an in-depth case description of the State of Vermont's Human Resource Management System (HRMS) to illustrate many of the pitfalls of public sector management of IT projects. The project was two years late and more than $1 million over budget, and by early 1995, the system was still experiencing some problems. Unfortunately, the difficulties that surfaced are not unique to this project; nor are they unique to the State of Vermont. The authors propose modifications to private sector project management techniques and identify lessons that can be learned from the HRMS experience.

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