Two themes in my Twitter stream today that have been fused together in my mind.

1) the government’s Universal Credit benefits reform, turning into a great beast of a disaster. At it’s core (from where I see it) “IT disasters” resulting from ineffective change management, an over-confidence that technology in its own right can deliver significant organisational change, and that unique form of leadership to projects that Politicians give (ie at arm’s length from the Civil Service, and likely to bugger off to another department at any moment) – read Bryan Glick’s commentary in Computer Weekly here.

2) the government’s Year of Code initiative, continuing the madcap idea that everyone needs to learn to code (rather than everyone should be given the opportunity to learn to code, much like everyone should be given the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument).

So the question – would IDS be in less of a state if he’d learned to code at school. My hunch – no. A little knowledge in this instance can obscure the real underlying issues – if I could build a simple website, and if I were of the sort of personality type to become a national politician, I’d probably see even less of the real change and organisational challenges that get in the way of much government IT.

But it’s an interesting case study to discuss…

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