This post project review will investigate and learn which critical elements led to the failure of the BBC Digital Media Initiative (DMI). The purpose of the DMI project was to increase the production efficiency of BBC staff by establishing state of the art technology, which employees can employ on their desktops. DMI would enable employees to develop, share, and manage video and audio content. The DMI project was first approved by the BBC Executive Board in April 2010 and was written-off in May 2013. The DMI cost license fee payers GBP 98.4 Million and took 6 years to plan, design and attempt to build (National Audit Office 2014). The project was highly scrutinised once it was found that, it did not provide the business case benefits it aspired to bring. There were critical failures within the corporate governance structure and risk management of the DMI project. Firstly, the DG Finance Committee, a corporate governance body responsible for providing oversight of the DMI Steering Group did not have the adequate technical skills to lead a strategic path for the development of the in-house project. However, the report will also discuss whether the BBC established a corporate governance structure that was fit to suit the DMI project. Secondly, the report will analyse how project teams managed risks throughout the project life cycle, and then move on to discussing how critical risk audits were postponed at vital times.
The BBC’s purpose is to serve the public in the United Kingdom and its mission is to inform, educate, and entertain (BBC 2015). The Trust is the governing body of the BBC, and ensures that the BBC delivers a set of objectives. Thereafter, the next most powerful governing body at the BBC is The Executive Board, which is responsible for the operational delivery of BBC services in line with the framework set by the Trust (BBC 2015). To understand the corporate governance structure for the DMI project, it is salient to understand the reporting hierarchy of the DMI project, which is shown in Figure 1.0 (PricewaterhouseCoopers 2013). Starting from the bottom of the hierarchal pyramid, the operational teams, which consisted of the DMI Delivery Team and the DMI Project Leadership Team, who consist of project managers and other project staff. Thereafter the DMI Steering Group reported to the DG Finance Committee, which directly reported to the BBC Executive Board. Lastly, the Executive Board reported to the BBC Trust.
Figure 1.0 - BBC DMI Corporate Governance Structure
The corporate governance structure for the DMI project lacked an effective governance body. This is because committee members did not have the necessary skills and expertise to challenge the progress, methods and processes of the DMI project (PricewaterhouseCoopers 2013). Governance bodies can effectively regulate methods and processes of the objectives, if they have the necessary skills and expertise to do so (Tricker 2015). The DG Finance Committee was responsible for governing the DMI Steering Group, however, the DG Finance Committee lack of skills and expertise did not challenge the progression of the project (PricewaterhouseCoopers 2013). Instead, the Finance Committee was more so focused on the financial benefits and outcomes of the program, due to their expertise in that field (PricewaterhouseCoopers 2013). This suggests that DMI corporate governance structure at the BBC failed to be effective. A corporate governance body “…involves a set of relationships between a company’s management, its board, its shareholders and other stakeholders. Corporate governance also provides the structure through which the objectives of the company are set, and the means of attaining those objectives and monitoring performance are determined” (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 2004). How can corporate governance bodies…