Hexagon at the CCR-Summit - Panel discussion
On 9 and 10 October, for the twelfth year in a row, the RB&W Safety Knowledge Network held the CCR Summit. Hexagon at the CCR-Summit together with partner CGI, organized a high-profile panel discussion for departments with a core task within public and national security. The subject: the realisation and implementation of the National Control Room System, in short NMS.
- How do you manage a complex project such as the National Control Room System (NMS) and make it a success?
- Who has what agenda?
- How does everyone get what he or she wants?
- How do you realize this in a limited time frame and within a realistic budget?
- How do you ensure that the new system is accepted and really works?
These are tough questions that cannot be answered in the blink of an eye. The preparation of this tender has taken several years.
There are many ins & outs that require attention. One of the ways in which adequate answers can be found is to enter into discussions with experts in the field and thus critically examine various aspects. And that’s what Hexagon and CGI did at the CCR Summit.
This annual event brings together policymakers and public parties involved in improving public safety in the Netherlands on a daily basis. In addition, several private organizations that have a stake in NMS were present.
CGI together with Hexagon at the CCR-Summit organized a panel discussion on the complexity of the implementation of a new national control room system. Toine Beukering, Member of the Senate acted as chair. In addition, three experts took place on stage: Roland Heesen (TriOpSys), Nick Chorley (Hexagon) and Joerg Raab (independent researcher; associate professor of Tilburg University). They always gave an explanation of the four propositions, to which the more than 100-member audience could respond by means of red (disagree) and green cards (agree).
1. Dealing effectively with complexity
The first statement, ‘A complex problem calls for a multidisciplinary approach’, was given a green light.
Instead of discussion, there was a nice analysis: the complexity of the problem arises from the number of actors, but also from interdependence. This project involves a technological, strategic, project-based and organisational level. That creates complexity. The challenge is to deal with that effectively. It takes decisiveness to bring different cultures together.
2. Shared urgency
Statement 2: ‘It is not possible to work together in one system’, colored the room mainly red.
Collaboration in one system is certainly possible, as long as there is freedom to organise things yourself. There is also a need for a degree of shared urgency on the part of the cooperating parties, a desire to work together to find the best solution for the citizen.
3. Big Bang
Red was also the dominant colour in the third statement. The majority voted against a ‘big bang’ approach to the NMS project.
It is a technical risk versus a political risk, according to many. If you take small steps, you reduce the technical risk, but the political risk is increased. If you take too long to implement, you could lose the buy-in, because the world and technology are changing more and more.
A possible solution is to deal with the main location in one go, but still use the current system at a fall-back location. Another solution is the approach used for 112: a big bang, but running half of the systems in the old mode. This gives the possibility of a fall-back.
Finally, it was suggested that such a project should be divided into phases so that adjustments could be made in between. A solution that many people in the public supported.
4. Delay due to involvement
The first three statements mostly led to a consensus in the room. Statement 4 divided the room. Involving people causes delays’ split the room 50/50.
Someone stated “You should manage it well, because if you involve users too much, you may get a product that goes beyond what people really need.”
Another said that involving users late in the process leads to delays, because they might not agree with what is happening.
Yet another person believes that if you include consulting users in the schedule, this does not have a delaying effect. The focus should be on exactly what they need, not on how it should be made…
Thess observations and the active participation of the room made this a very successful panel discussion.