This terrific quote from Confused of Calcutta reinforces my belief that software projects are often undermined by managerial staff’s haste to offload IT responsibilities:

…many people “manage” technical matters, reducing what they do to a variant of contract and purchase order management. They are so keen to become “the business” that they forget their primary role, to advise on, construct and deliver technical solutions to business problems. Rather than outsource operations, or even segments of development, they outsource thinking. Vendors exploit this (who could blame them) and this in turn leads to polarised arguments. This is a bad thing, and needs to be sorted out.

How about this for a new model? Create a project internally under crown copyright (or better still, open source). As the project takes shape, start inviting other boards to buy in by paying for additional staffing or resources. Run the whole thing in an open-source style. Decision-making is no longer the responsibility of non-techie management staff – who don’t want the task anyway – but is still open to a broad range of interested parties. The project lives or dies on its own merits, not on local or national politics.