Delivery Environment Complexity Analytic

Recently the United Kingdom National Audit Office – the auditor of bodies funded directly by the Parliament of the United Kingdom – released what is calls the Delivery Environment Complexity Analytic (DECA).

As the National Audit Office notes:

It provides a focus for discussion and consolidation of existing knowledge through consideration of the likely impact of 12 factors which are key influencers of success or failure. These can then be shaped to enable the creation of a delivery environment that is more likely to result in a successful outcome.

Users decide whether the potential impact from each factor is high, medium or low to build an overall picture of the delivery environment and its complexity. The completed DECA gives users a better understanding of the challenges the organisation faces in realising its policy aims and/or delivering a project. It does this by considering areas of challenge, drawing out where the potential risks are, their likely consequences and potential opportunities.

The DECA is NOT breaking new ground and the assessment of the complexity of a delivery environment is NOT rocket science.

Having said that, though, McLeod Governance would have lost count of the number of times throughout its career that an assessment of this nature is not undertaken at the commencement of a major project or initiative.  The DECA is, therefore, a neat articulation of the framework that should be adopted at a major initiative’s commencement.

The National Audit Office rightly observes:

We found striking patterns in the reasons for projects failing, which all related to the importance of understanding the delivery environment and complexity of the project when making a decision whether to proceed.

Organisations which really understood the inherent challenges of their project were able to create an environment for success at the earliest stages of its design, while those which did not set themselves up for failure at a later stage.

These ‘patterns’ were themed into 12 factors, which were used to create the DECA.

Completing the DECA or its equivalent does not mean that the adventure being embarked upon will be successful.  But you will at least pause at the start of the journey to consider the potential challenges.

If only every organisation that developed a new product, implemented a new information system or entered a new market took the time to self assess in this manner.


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