Written evidence from BBC Broadcasting
As requested at the PAC hearing of the DMI Project
on 15 February, here are a few thoughts on the lessons learned
from in-house delivery, including the value for money aspect of
Where software development projects rely heavily
on in-house specialist expertise or where the project will drive
significant changes to the working practices of specialist roles
within the organisation it is typically more advisable to have
direct control of the project in-house. In the case of FMI in-house
rather than outsourcing the development as a fixed price contract,
where control would be with the supplier.
That is not to say that all of the work on the project
need be done in-house. On the DMI project we continue to use
a number of off the shelf components and also have a number of
vendors delivering custom technology under the control and direction
of BBC staff. The key difference to a fixed price outsource is
that the BBC retains direction and control and can therefore quickly
correct the project if deliverables are not delivering as expected.
Of course it also means that the BBC carries the financial risk
of cost overruns that it would not under a fixed price contract.
Once the decision was taken to pull the project in-house
the project team analysed the work to be done to determine who
should deliver each component. In priority order, work was categorised
1. Existing designs, code or other works that
could be used to deliver the project.
2. Components that could be purchased as standard,
off the shelf deliverables.
3. Custom components that could be delivered
by third party specialist suppliers under the direction of the
4. Custom components and integration that needed
to be delivered by the BBC team.
This approach ensured that, where possible, components
where delivered quickly and at a cost lower than could be done
in-house while at the same time ensured that the relevant BBC
expertise was used to deliver the unique or specialist components
and the overall integration of the system. Additionally, at all
times the BBC is in control of the direction prioritisation and
specification of the deliverables and able to correct issues as
Key factors in delivering the project successfully
1. Senior leaders(s) who have track record of
successful delivery of large, complex software development projects
(eg BBC CTO).
2. Clear roles and responsibilities on the project.
3. Separation of software development and integration
from the business change and deployment functions. This ensures
4. Close cooperation and integration between
the functions on the projectrequirements, technical architecture,
deployment, test, technology operations, deployment, implementation
5. Embedded experts from the business into the
project to define and validate the functionality and use cases.
6. Close, ongoing management of the project with
regular reporting and review.
7. Clear and effective project governance with
the appropriate representation on each group/board from across
the project, business and suppliers. DMI in-house project governance