Pull offing undertakings

Introductionof Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new public assistance system supplying fiscal subsidies for the jobseekers and the low-income households in the United Kingdom. It regards TheDepartment for Work and Pensions ( DWP ) as a individual authorities section being responsible for the operation of Universal Credit ( Royston, 2012 ) . In add-on, it combines a assortment of original alleviation payments and benefits, such as jobseekers’ allowance ( JSA ) and income support, to a individual system ( National Audit Office, 2013 ) . Due to incorporate the original completed public assistance systems into a individual system, it provides a more effectual and convenient attack to the multitudes and the authorities subdivisions which allows them to simplify any application such as occupation seeking and informations aggregation. The Universal Credit system aims users to track the hard currency flow and passage under the chiseled ordinances as good.

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In order to run the system more automatically, the section of Universal Credit invested more than half capitals on establishing and developing IT online system. Harmonizing to National Audit Office ( 2013 ) provinces, the maps of the IT system include claimants’ application system, claims disposal and designation systems, fiscal information systems and information security systems. It besides points out that the undertaking of Universal Credit links the information from many authorities governments, for illustration: DWP, HM Revenue and Customs ( HMPC ) and local authoritiess. Because it is a complicated undertaking, the IT system of Universal Credit needs to be supported by safety, quality-guaranteed and real-time package and systems to forestall mistake happened. The program, which the section adopted, is to use Accenture, IBM, HP and BT to be the system providers to construct a multi-functional IT system for the section and the users.

The advantages of Universal Credit are that it allows claimants, people who apply the fiscal aid, to understand their public assistance entitlements in an easy manner. It besides offers a simple channel with incorporating legion application entrees to the appliers which allows them to use assorted allowances they should hold. Furthermore, Universal Credit promotes motive of the unemployed to work that it ensures the out-of-work people can obtain more income compared to the period when they receive benefits while they start working ( National Audit Office, 2013 ) . In the British government’s point of position, the benefits of Universal Credit are less expenditure and high efficiency. The study ( 2013 ) states that the operation of Universal Credit can cut down forces costs and simplify the work flow about the claims. More significantly, this undertaking can diminish the mistakes and the errors caused by adult male every bit good as detects the fraud created by the ill-intentioned persons. With legion advantages, the DWP decides to try to establish the Universal Credit plan in Tameside, Wigan, Warrington and Oldham in April 2013, so plans to implement this plan throughout the UK in October.

Thecurrentprovince of Universal Credit plan

Although Universal Credit plan seems to be a well-designed system, National Audit Office ( 2013 ) believes that the timetable of set uping Universal Credit online system is excessively optimistic. It severely points out the defects of its IT system which may take to more disbursement on developing IT building, it besides inquiries about the capableness of IT technique which may non accomplish the intent of simplifying the current public assistance system. Without sing these issues, it will bring forth the loopholes in information security that may harm people’s involvements and do reputational harm to the UK authoritiess. After appraisal, the Major Projects Authority decided to suspend the national execution of the plan, set up a reset squad to decide the security hazard of the IT system running in Tameside.

The current IT system of Universal Credit

In the early phase, the IT system of Universal Credit adopted traditional plan-driven attack, or called waterfall theoretical account, to construct the system. Harmonizing to Winch ( 2013 ) , the traditional PM trigon is a process-oriented theoretical account which keeps quality as the precedence. This theoretical account defines the stairss that every undertaking rhythm should include the procedures of choice, define, execute, trial and operate ( Szalvay, 2004 ) . It regards every measure as a complete rhythm, which means the section has to guarantee one measure is completed, or it can non travel to the following measure. Because the waterfall theoretical account is a consecutive procedure, every process should be chiseled with clear marks. This theoretical account besides regards quality as the precedence that it needs to pull off and command each measure with fully-planned paperss to guarantee high quality of the system ( Boehm, 1988 ) . Hence the waterfall theoretical account is suited for the complex package systems.

At the beginning of the Universal Credit plan, the section understood its intent that it had to incorporate most IT maps related to online dealing to its system. As a consequence, it implemented plan-driven attack to plan the IT system and began to suggest the white paper with the intents, maps, agenda, range and budget of the plan at the terminal of 2012. However, the section overestimated its capableness of planning every bit good as overlooked the demand of the market, therefore it faced many challenges of modifying the agenda of constructing IT system in 2013.

The Problems of implementing waterfall theoretical account in the IT system

Although waterfall or called plan-driven theoretical account is an appropriate attack to plan a complicated system, the section failed to implement this attack to develop the system.

As the study ( 2013 ) indicates, the section made an mistake rating about the per centum of online claims. It designed the IT system which can accept 50 % online claims, but really the demand is nearing to 90 % . The incorrect determination with waterfall model’s attack made the section to see quandary. Under this theoretical account, the section can non flexibly change the design and agenda when mistakes occurred, which is the state of affairs the section faced ( Szalvay, 2004 ; Winch, 2013 ; National Audit Office, 2013 ) . If the program has to revise in one measure, it has to return to upstage to amend comparative schemes ( Boehm, 1988 ) . To the last, it might alter the content in the first phase, so increasingly modify the IT system in each procedure. Additionally, this flow alteration demands clip to negociate with different providers and sections affecting in the Universal Credit plan which has strong possibility to add more spend on resetting the IT system. However, the section does non hold sufficient budget to afford the extra cost of the undertaking of Universal Credit. Consequently, without accurately measure about the market demand, waterfall theoretical account with a document-driven scheme brings trouble to the section to reset the IT system.

Reset the IT system by traveling waterfall to agile attack

The IT system of Universal Credit is a extremely complex undertaking that it is impossible for the section to see the full scope of needed maps before design and cryptography. With high uncertainness of users’ demand, the system developers would be stressed by unknown development way in order to plan a system to run into demand. This uncertainness brings high hazard while altering. As Szalvay ( 2004 ) indicates that waterfall model’s attack is more suited for usage in low-risk, low-variance and chiseled undertaking. The section identified the job sing to the inflexibleness of following the waterfall theoretical account. Sing the timescale and budget, the National Audit office decided to present a more efficient attack to better and finish the undertaking. Harmonizing to the study ( 2013 ) , the section applied nimble method to replace the waterfall theoretical account in order to reset the IT system.

Because of unsure demand prognosis, nimble development enables to work out the job by reacting to the rapid alterations in demand, which means that nimble attack is a extremely feedback-oriented development theoretical account ( Sy, 2006 ) . As he indicates, the agile divides a big, complex undertaking to many little stages, each stage has a specific mark and can be executed at the same clip. Every development rhythm uses iterative information processing to construct partial system. In other words, the development of Universal Credit can categorise the system’s maps to several facets, so at the same time resets the system based on demands and suggestions. This processing theoretical account merely requires a short development lifecycle to finish the system ( Winch, 2013 ) .

However, in the Universal Credit system, there is no indicant to demo the section suitably implementing the nimble theoretical account. First, as Sureshchandra and Shrinivasavadhani ( 2008 ) province, the agile pattern merely has to look into improved relevant paperss and update them. But, the attack which National Audit Office pick is to reexamine and change all paperss about the Universal Credit plan. As old account, waterfall attack is to rectify all paperss before modifying the system ; agile is to quick response the demand without passing long clip on papers procedures ( Szalvay, 2004 ) . The state of affairs, which the section faced, is it can non run into users’ demand. There are more than 90 % of new on-line claimants, but the system can non afford so many applications. Now the appropriate attack for the section is non to reexamine and change all paperss. Alternatively, it has to update the paperss associated with specific improved maps, so to modify the deficient portion of the system straightaway. Therefore, the scheme which the section adopted does non implement agile, but waterfall model’s attack.

Second, ill-defined mark causes more unsure design way of the IT system. National Audit Office ( 2013 ) points out that the section did non hold any clear program about the maps which need to better, although it had received feedback from users. This status would blockade the section to simplify and sort the composite IT system to little undertakings. Then the section can non concentrate on bettering on specific maps every bit good as entering them at the same clip, which may take to no agile. In add-on, ill-defined program has a strong chance to impact the section to follow agile from waterfall theoretical account.

In the Universal Credit instance, due to the pressing demand, the section has limited clip and budget to reform the IT system. Therefore, the efficient attack is to use existing substructure, travel waterfall to agile to redesign the system. Under this status, the section proposed the points that it would wish to heighten the system maps, which means it eventually set up the mark for betterment. Unfortunately, the Cabinet Office did non accept this scheme because it believed the section had deficient technique and a ill-defined proposal to better the IT system. The section non merely does non see the point to reform in item, besides the program about the IT infrastructures do non implement the bing system. This state of affairs seems the section abandons the original system and halt go oning to better, which is non the construct of agile.

Therefore, from above analyses, it can be concluded that the section misunderstood the significance of agile, kept obeying waterfall theoretical account. It besides neglects the importance of specifying unsure factors.

Designwith the trial is besides of import

In the early phase, it seems that the section did non see proving as a important portion while be aftering the Universal Credit undertaking. Because it adopted waterfall model’s attack to plan the undertaking, system testing is implemented after execute. The current province of Universal Credit system used this method that it puts trials in the concluding phase, which belongs to waterfall model’s attack. In the execute stage, the system coders have to guarantee they to the full complete all the system harmonizing to the design and agenda, so they can continue to the following phase ( Sy, 2007 ; Sureshchandra & A ; Shrinivasavadhani, 2008 ) .

However, this attack raises several hazards to the system. First, the coders can non guarantee whether the IT system will run. In this stage, the section outsourced partial maps to certain system suppliers and requested them to back up scene. For illustration, HP is responsible for hardware and work service platform ; BT contract telephone service ( National Audit Office, 2013 ) . Every IT provider developed specific system maps without proving compatibility or non. When they completed and integrated the full system without system mistake, it may bring forth the compatibility issues that allow tramps attack the system or do informations loss when users implement the system which is related to information security issue. Another jeopardy is about clip, budget and the users’ demand. If the system designers found that the developed system is non suited for the demands or it occurred mistake when integration, the interior decorators had to travel back to design phase, changed the program and rearrange the undertaking to providers. This state of affairs causes clip waste, capital loss and users’ assurance fell to the Universal Credit plan.

In the reset period, the Major Project Review Group understood this state of affairs, therefore it suggested the section to halt the program. In order to avoid such hazards and loss happed, it puts trial and design in the same IT development phase. Although the section had considered trial, it regards trial as a subproject while coding. It besides ran the system before to the full finishing to prove whether the system had any mistake ( National Audit Office, 2013 ) . Therefore, the hazard job still did non be solved, although the section put test with planing the system.

Poorplanning anddesignin the early phase

National Audit Office ( 2013 ) points out that the section non merely had limited technique to code the system, it besides had no ability to be after the whole undertaking. In the reset province, the section rethought its original program and proposed a new 1. However, National Audit Office believed that the new program is ill-defined. First of wholly, the section did non concern about scalability. Comparing to the old program, the system betterment is limited, which means that there were no important alteration in the IT system. Second, the section did non see exhaustively sing to the system design. As the National Audit Office ( 2013 ) province, the section lost several information security maps, such as Integrated Risk Information System ( IRIS ) which can take to protect on-line dealing every bit good as to avoid informations stolen by system interlopers. This can demo that the section does non hold the capableness to keep the program, it besides loses accurate finding of make up one’s minding an betterment program. This disadvantage would impact the section to develop a strategic program and implement agile attack to the IT system, it besides raises information security issue the section, which may impact users’ assurance in the system.

Decision and recommendations

Presently, the IT system of Universal Credit has faced many challenges, and most of them come from traveling waterfall theoretical account to agile attack. The section did non understand the kernel of agile, it confused between waterfall and nimble attack in the reset phase. Hence, the better solution to reform the system is that the section analyses feedback given by the system users, so it develops specific betterment ends based on the users’ demand, and alter betterment relevant paperss at the same clip. It processes merely needs few yearss to finish. Later the section assigns the undertakings which are required to reform to the responsible providers. In the design phase, the section has to guarantee that the providers have a trial system while coding and return advancements to the section. Simultaneously, the section has to corroborate that there are no compatibility jobs between different IT maps to avoid security issue happened. If there is no necessary, the section tries to retain the original IT substructure, utilizing bing hardware and package to heighten the IT system. This attack enables the section to salvage recoding clip, cut down extra Reconstruction financess every bit good as simplify the procedures of reconstructing the system.

In the system, redesigning period, the section should concentrate more on scalability. Because the mark clients of Universal Credit are national people in the UK. There would be a big sum of user entrees to this IT system accompanied with hive awaying big informations. To see the system’s flexibleness in the hereafter, the system must be allowed to easy widen the constituents of hardware and package when it is necessary, which has to specify good in the design stage. The scalability besides includes fast processing online informations and maintains the system’s public presentation. For illustration, the section has to follow multi-servers’ attack, each host has to backup informations at the same time. This attack non merely can portion the burden of each host, besides can forestall disconnected expiration of one waiter, so when an accident happened, the IT system still can run. In order to forestall hazards and keep the system, the section has to see future scalability and proposes a good system design strategy in the design phase.

In drumhead, following the nimble attack enables the section to expeditiously alter and recode the IT system. It besides implements system proving to assist the coders to happen mistakes and mutual exclusivenesss. Prior to this, chiseled programs and clear aims are important. In the reforming stage. The section has to see the long-run program which will let it to easy add more maps in the hereafter. Besides, a good strategic program can take to avoid certain expected hazards. If the section follows these suggestions, the IT system of Universal Credit plan will non be a concern job.Mentions

Boehm, B. W. ( 1988 ) . A coiling Model of Software Development and Enhancement.Computer, 21( 5 ) , 61-72.

Galen, R. ( 2010, 10 27 ) .Agile Project Manager – Traditional PM Triangle be Damned, Keep Quality First!Retrieved from Projecttimes: hypertext transfer protocol: //www.projecttimes.com/robert-galen/agile-project-manager-traditional-pm-triangle-be-damned-keep-quality-first.html

National Audit Office. ( 2013 ) .Universal Credit: earlyadvancement.London: National Audit Office.

Royston, S. ( 2012 ) . Understanding Universal Credit.Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, 20( 1 ) , pp. 69-86.

Sureshchandra, K. , & A ; Shrinivasavadhani, J. ( 2008 ) . Traveling from Waterfall to Agile. In G. Melnik, P. Kruchten, & A ; M. Pppendieck,Agile 2008 Conference( pp. 97-101 ) . Los Alamitos, Canada: IEEE Computer Society.

Sy, D. ( 2007, 5 ) . Adapting Usability Investigations for Agile User-centered Design.Journal of Usability Studies, 2( 3 ) , pp. 112-132.

Szalvay, V. ( 2004 ) .An Introduction to Agile Software Development.Washington: Danube Technologies, Inc.

Winch, G. M. ( 2013 ) .Pull offing Construcion Undertakings( Second ed. ) . West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell.

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