Tanner James Blog

B is the most important letter in DTA

John Howarth

Last month in my blog I advocated a change of name for The Digital Transformation Office (DTO), and proposed it should be called The Government Transformation Office.  Well, it got its name change, though not the one I proposed – the DTO is to become The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA).  So what’s new and what’s the significance of the change?

What’s new?

Last week in a speech to the Australian Information Industries Association at the National Press Club, Angus Taylor, Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, signaled major changes to how the government intends to pursue its digital transformation agenda.

The DTO will morph into the DTA, with big changes involved not just a rebadging.  A new leader has been appointed - Nerida O’Loughlin, currently a deputy secretary for the Department of Communications and the Arts, will take over as leader from Paul Shetler, who is now Chief Digital Officer.  (Whether that is a high-powered advisory role or a euphemism for “Digital Special Projects Officer” remains to be seen.)

Department of Finance functions related to ICT policy and ICT procurement will move to the DTA, reflecting a broader and more strategic approach.  There is also talk of a whole-of-government PMO function being a part of the mix following PM&C and Finance work in that area.

While there are speeches and media commentary available, precise details of the structure and functions of the DTA have not yet been released.  What is clear however is that this is a big deal – if you are in the business of digital transformation in the APS you need to watch this unfold very closely.

What’s the significance of the change?

I was present at the AIIA lunch where Angus Taylor spoke, and I found what he said very heartening.

I haven’t seen a transcript of the speech, but I can assure you he used the “B-word” many times – benefits, benefits, and benefits.  Did I mention benefits?!  It was wonderful to hear an elected member of the government stand-up and speak passionately and eloquently about benefits, business cases and programme management – and yes, he clearly knew exactly what those terms meant and used them in the same way as a competent programme or project management professional.

I have written several blogs on the topic of digital transformation, but one thing is clear:  if you don’t know how to deliver benefits through programme management you might want to re-think your digital career.  It’ll be interesting to see who doesn’t come back after the Christmas holidays this year.

Want to know more about managing digital transformation?

If you would like to know more about using programme management or project management to manage digital (government) transformation in the APS, please call me personally on 0407 404 688 or email me at .  I would be very happy to come to meet you, answer questions and provide further information.

Other blogs on Digital Transformation

Is it time to drop the D from the DTO?

What will the Prime Minister’s vision mean for programme and project management in the APS?

How to create a Digital Transformation Plan

This is why Digital Transformation Coordinators can’t sleep…

Digital Transformation - War or Peace

What do you think?

Please feel free to comment on the blog itself or via Linked In.

Zero to Hero - Do I have to do all of PRINCE2?

Ray Ahern

Do I have to do all of PRINCE2?

PRINCE2 can be overwhelming to a new Project Manager in particular.  This is even more so if you start by believing you need to create a large wad of documents to be able to run a good project.

You can cut through this fear by realising that some parts of PRINCE2 will offer the new project manager more value than others.  Your dilemma is that you need to work out which bits.

Whilst it will vary from person to person and project to project, in my experience, a few parts of the method are the critical enablers that will get the rest of PRINCE2 working for you.  Looking to meet these challenges first can smooth the way for later:

  • Establish ownership and connections with the user and supplier environments - even an imperfect Project Board that can connect you with your users and the people who will supply the solution
  • Do product based planning – this will support you later with scope management, cost management, assignment of work, risk identification and later with any proposed changes
  • Structure work assignment and management – this sounds fairly obvious but seems to be one essential that many people forget
  • Establish change authorities– having authorities and limits of authority established up front will save you lots of time later by avoiding those awful arguments about who can approve a change.

Most commonly when an inexperienced project manager hits a problem they will throw their hands in the air and forget PRINCE2; when actually PRINCE2 would give them a way of solving those problems.  Rather than making that mistake, an experienced PRINCE2 exponent will think about “what part of the PRINCE2 method could help me here?”

 If you start with the basics I’ve given you above and then every time you hit a problem look to the method to help solve your problem you will soon gain a lot of proficiency at using PRINCE2.  You will certainly be better placed than someone who tries to implement PRINCE2 by writing every document suggested by the manual!