Eurim, the IT- Parliamentary information group has produced an IT procurement guide for dummies, aimed at MPs and parliamentary candidates in next year’s elections.

Eurim will be taking the guide round the party conferences over coming weeks. With public spending cuts looming and IT projects subject to particular scrutiny, the guide aims to remind politicians and civil servants of the questions to ask to ensure project success.

Stephen Timms, minister for Digital Britain and Financial Secretary to the Treasury said, "I welcome Eurim's brave attempt to summarise thousands of pages of reports and guidance into a simple crib sheet for politicians.

“It is a useful aide memoire for us all, as well as a succinct summary of what the next generation needs to learn, to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past."

The principles laid out are widely know, if often not observed in both public and private sector IT projects:

  1. Agree clear business outcomes before you start
  2. Be realistic and candid about risk, especially politically related risk, at all stages
  3. Avoid inventing new wheels: reduce risk by recycling and adapting where possible
  4. Do not over-emphasise price: lowest cost is rarely best value or service
  5. Focus on rewarding achievements, not on penalising failure
  6. Regularly monitor performance and continued relevance of outcomes
  7. Do not skimp on testing, including of security, resilience and people processes