3months wins govt site redesign

A Wellington software development company that tries not to accept any project that takes longer than three months to finish has been awarded the contract to redevelop the e-government website.

A Wellington software development company that tries not to accept any project that takes longer than three months to finish has been awarded the contract to redevelop the e-government website.

The firm, naturally enough called 3months.com, believes long projects become complex and more prone to failure.

The five-person company beat a number of more prominent organisations to the contract to develop the State Services Commission’s www.e-government.govt.nz site, including Zivo, Toolbox and Synergy.

Unfortunately for the firm, 3months’ victory has not meant an advantage in the larger and more status-enhancing task of developing the portal for e-government sources. “We bid for that, but we’ve been rejected,” says founder Mark Pascall.

The portal project is still at the stage of RFP evaluation, says e-government unit spokesman Edwin Bruce. There are two separate RFPs under evaluation one for hosting of the portal and the other for the applications layer, including the maintenance of meta data.

3months has been in business for a year-and-a-half, though Pascall claims five years’ experience of web design and 12 of broader software development. The firm set out to target government as its primary market and designed the website for Land Information NZ’s Landonline project. It is currently doing an audit of the site of the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology (Morst). The company’s site says that for projects likely to take more than three months “we will work with you to create a long-term vision then break the project up into phases that are stepping stones to your vision”.

There were several reasons for preferring 3months’ offering, says e-government relationship manager Andrea Gray. Their price was significantly lower than the other bidders, she says. “They had understood our requirements, and not just pitched a standard product set, which a lot of the bidders did. That was possibly related to the price; that they proposed to supply only what we needed.”

The company uses technology for converting Word documents to HTML, the designated standard for e-government web pages, and that is another significant plus, Gray says. HTML is easier for devices used by disabled people to interpret.

And 3months works with an iterative prototyping methodology, which suits the e-government unit’s needs very well, Gray says, as the site is “in a developmental phase” and likely to change and evolve.

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