Information Systems for Fisheries Administration

A proposal to the Ministry of Fisheries: December 1996


The scope of the proposal
Policy development work
Summary of the proposal
Project Gantt chart
Basics of project planning
Contents of the project charter
Contents of the project plan
Proposed project charter
Terms of reference
Project description
Project constraints
Proposed approach
Project directorate
Project team
Proposed Policy Development Work Process
Business Process Development and User Requirements
Business processes
Impact and risk assessment
Quality plan
Overall quality measures
Performance measures
Proposed project plan
Work breakdown structure
Milestone chart
Task Dependency Chart
Resource plan
Appendix 1: The Request for Proposals
Format for RFP
Functional Requirements
Responses to RFP
Appendix 2: The Memorandum of Understanding


This proposal has been prepared to assist the Ministry of Fisheries ("the Ministry") to determine a practical method for implementing the information systems required to implement the requirements of the Fisheries Act 1996 ("the Act"), as they pertain to fisheries administration services.

This proposal does not cover in detail all the areas contained in the Ministry's proposal but concentrates on the sub-projects related to the development of information systems. There are significant differences between this proposal and the corresponding parts of the Ministry's proposal, resulting primarily from the different approach taken to the project.

The scope of the proposal

This proposal covers the information systems required to support the areas of the Act relating to:

All other work within the sub-projects defined in the Ministry proposal are beyond the scope of this proposal: this includes Sustainability, Principles and Processes, Review of Existing Regulations, Statutory Boards, Observers, and Compliance. While this work is not covered specifically by this proposal, it is addressed in general principles in the next section.

Policy development work

It is the opinion of the industry that policy development forms part of the normal business of the Ministry, so that, although estimates of the policy development work for sub-projects C and D and part of B have been included in this proposal, all involvement of Ministry staff in policy development has been assumed to be at zero cost to stakeholders.

There are many areas of policy which have been defined prior to the Fisheries Act 1996 and will not change as a result of the Act. The estimates of work for these areas are based upon a review, to check that the existing policies will not be changed.

Many of the systems and procedures required by the Act have been defined explicitly in the Act, with the result that either no additional work will be required on them within this project or the work required will be on expanding the policies.


The approach taken within this proposal is the provision of an IT solution for the implementation of the fisheries administration services to achieve the objectives of the Ministry, the industry and other stakeholders.

The approach includes the encouragement of innovative solutions by external providers, and prescription has been avoided. It has been necessary to include estimates of the work involved, although it is recognised that these may be amended by agreement with an external provider.

The approach also recognises the major interaction between the various areas of business included within the scope and with areas beyond the scope, and attempts to provide an integrated view of the work that is required.

The approach taken in this proposal is to use small teams meeting regularly with members working separately on clearly defined tasks. Peer review, including by eMail, of draft documents, allows wide consultation without requiring the use of large amounts of staff time.

Summary of the proposal

The proposal contains the following major actions:

  1. Appoint by 3 February 1997:
  2. Complete a request for proposals ("RFP"), comprising high level functional specifications, to be issued by 31 March 1997.
  3. Receive responses to the RFP by 28 April 1997.
  4. Select two potential providers, who will each prepare a Memorandum of Understanding ("MoU"), by 5 May 1997, at a probable total outlay of $30,000 - $60,000.
  5. Develop MoUs, jointly with the selected providers, by 28 July 1997.
  6. Choose a provider, based on an evaluation of the MoUs, by 4 August 1997.
  7. Develop and implement information systems by 1 April 1998, initially only for stocks which have an April fishing year.
  8. Commission the systems for complete implementation by 1 October 1998.
  9. Implement the systems on 1 October 1998.

This is shown diagrammatically below.


Project Gantt chart

Gantt Chart 1

Basics of project planning

The two essential documents required for the implementation of information systems are a project charter and a project plan. The Ministry proposal contains both a project charter and the current project plan. It is our preference for these to be presented as two separate documents. Our reasoning for this is that the project charter must remain constant throughout the project, to provide continuous guidance on the objectives of the project, while the project plan may change over time. Operationally, the project plan can be amended independently of the project charter by the Project Manager, provided that these changes do not affect the content of the project charter, and with the approval of the project directorate; the project charter can only be amended by the project directorate.

Contents of the project charter

The project charter would be expected to contain:

Contents of the project plan

Based upon the project charter, the project plan would be expected to contain:

Proposed project charter

Terms of reference

The background to the project is the enactment of the Fisheries Act 1996, and the implementation of information systems to support the fisheries administrative services described within the Act.

The objectives of the project are:

  1. To provide information systems to support fisheries administration services.
  2. To provide these systems on a schedule agreed between the Ministry and stakeholders.
  3. To provide these systems in a manner that is both contestable and competitive.

Project description

This project begins the acquisition of new systems to support fisheries administrative services, by completing a functional specification that can be presented to potential providers for them to prepare a proposal for the design, development and implementation of information systems to support those services.

The project will be managed by a professional Project Manager, in co-operation with the Ministry, industry and other stakeholders, using the expertise of people within the Ministry, the industry and of outside consultants.

Project constraints

The key issues which constrain the project are as follows:

  1. The implementation of the information systems must be in accordance with the dates given in the Act.
  2. As the Ministry's proposal points out, "any delay in new systems implementation will result in capital investment in existing systems" and "the integrity of existing systems can not be guaranteed". It is a constraint of this project that reliance upon those existing systems will result in additional capital expenditure, and therefore should be minimised.

Proposed approach

The approach for this proposal has been described in Approach. The following are additional aspects of the approach taken to the project.

Project directorate

In addition, we propose the establishment of a project directorate, encompassing two roles:

  1. The Project Sponsor is responsible for providing funds and resources to the project, to enable it to meet its objectives.
  2. The Project Champion is responsible for representing the users of the information systems, to ensure that it meets its objectives.

We propose the appointment of a Project Champion, who may chair a Project Steering Group comprising representatives of users from the Ministry, industry and other parties.

Project team

The organisation of the project team in this proposal is different from the Ministry proposal.

The project will continue to have a Project Sponsor, who will be responsible for the resources to be provided to the project, including funding.

In addition, a Project Champion will be appointed, to ensure that the requirements of the users will be met. The Project Champion would be expected to represent all user interests to the project, including the Ministry and stakeholders. As a result, the Project Champion would be expected to form a Project Champion's team of user representatives, to provide advice and guidance.

A full-time Project Manager will be required throughout the project, from its inception on 3 February 1997 through to full implementation on 1 October 1998. The Project Manager would be able to appoint a project team to assist as and when required with the management of the project. The members of this team would appointed on the basis of their value to the overall management of the project, rather than on a functional basis.

Where possible, and where specialist expertise will be required, tasks within the project will be performed by external specialists and consultants.

Proposed Policy Development Work Process

It is proposed that the required policy development work should be undertaken in the manner outlined below to ensure efficiency and to ensure high quality standards are achieved.

Policy development is the core business of the Ministry. In matters of policy development, Ministry staff are qualified and experienced. The Ministry may wish to invite industry experts to assist in development of policy, to add another dimension to the identification of effects and implications of policy decisions.

This proposal assigns one person from MFish Policy as responsible for development of policy in each area. This person would develop each sub-policy within that area. No external consultants would be used in this phase. Each major area (Trading, Securities, Common Areas, Crown Guarantee etc) would be assigned to a single person.

Work would commence with a brief group brainstorming session. The designated person would then prepare draft policies which would then be circulated to other members of the group, and legal section where necessary, for peer review. This to continue for as many iterations as required to gain peer approval. (This process will be undertaken by eMail - and suggested revisions redlined in the document. Once internal peer agreement is reached - drafts could be posted on an Internet site for outside comment - no requirement for outside approval.)

Once required changes are made - the policy will be submitted to the Project Steering Group ("PSG") for final approval.

If the PSG does not approve the draft policy, it shall be referred back to the author for amendment and sent back to the PSG for approval.

Under this proposal, most policy issues would be dealt with in less than a month.

It is inevitable that some policy issues will surface during the latter phases of business process design & documentation, and of systems analysis, and these would be dealt with in similar peer group fashion.

Only the policy development work in sub-projects C and D has been considered in detail in this proposal. However, it is likely that the process outlined for policy development work in these areas would be applicable to policy development in other areas, with similar reductions in resource requirements.

Business Process Development and User Requirements

This proposal takes a slightly different approach for the areas of business process development and documentation, and systems analysis. These are not core Ministry business, and we would bring in an external consultant for each aspect.

It is proposed that the required business process development and user requirements work will be undertaken initially by an external business process development specialist and systems analyst, and subsequently by potential providers and eventually the chosen provider. This will ensure that opportunities for innovation are maximised and that high quality standards are achieved.

Only the business process development and user requirement work in sub-projects C and D has been considered in detail in this proposal. However, it is likely that the process outlined for business process development work in these areas would be applicable to business process development in other areas, with similar reductions in resource requirements.

Business processes

A preliminary assessment of the areas of business suggests the following business processes:

  1. ACE available to commercial fishers:
  2. ACE verified against landings:
  1. Finance and administration:

There is also an underlying Information infrastructure, comprising Shared Data.


For the effective completion of this project the following conditions need to be met throughout the duration of the project:

  1. Effective consultation between the Ministry and stakeholders must continue throughout the project.
  2. By agreement, other issues may be allowed to take priority over work on the project.
  3. Ministry staff must be made available to work on the project in accordance with advance notice to them of their requirement in accordance with the project plan.
  4. Issues which must be resolved in order to advance the project and which are beyond the control of the Project Manager must be resolved by the Project Sponsor.
  5. Experienced and competent people will be used for key project management and development roles.
  6. A Project Manager must be appointed.


The following assumptions have been made in preparing this project charter. Several of these assumptions are also in the Ministry proposal.

  1. Delays in implementing new systems may result in additional expenditure on the existing systems.
  2. Re-use will be made of existing business processes where possible.
  3. Re-use will be made of existing data, where appropriate. Where data has been collected under existing Ministry systems, we intend to use that data, wherever possible, to build the databases for the new systems.
  4. Information systems will be built with portability and flexibility in mind.
  5. All data will be owned by the Crown.
  6. All software and its intellectual property will become Crown property on termination of the lease agreement for that software, whether that termination is at the end of the term of the contract or as a result of termination for breach of contract, insolvency or any other cause on the part of the contractor.
  7. The outcomes of this project will be in line with the Crown's essential strategic outcomes, as described in s8-s10 of the Act.
  8. The current locations and functions of the regional and district offices will remain unchanged with respect to those parts of the Act dealing with compliance and regional policy staff.
  9. A government decision on contestability of the fisheries administrative services will be made by 30 April 1997.
  10. All stakeholder groups are appropriately represented, at their own cost.
  11. External consultants will manage and complete the project, using assistance from Ministry staff.
  12. Assistance provided by Ministry staff may result in a reduction of their availability for normal work, provided that this has been agreed in advance and is directly attributable to their work on the project.
  13. Funding for the project until completion of the RFP and evaluation of the responses will be provided by the industry.

Impact and risk assessment

This proposal recognises the following risks to the success of the project.

  1. We agree with the statement in the Ministry's proposal that the Ministry "is inexperienced in managing projects of this size". Industry and external consultants are, however, experienced in this area. It is a risk to this project that Ministry staff should be involved in the management of this project.
  2. We also agree that, within the Ministry, "there is a shortage of specialist staff". Nevertheless, Ministry specialists will need to be consulted from time to time during the project. Their lack of availability will be a risk to this project.
  3. Some staff turnover rates may increase.
  4. Stakeholders may not accept implementation schedules and costs.
  5. The position on contestability may change from current assumptions. This will affect a major basis on which the project has been planned.
  6. Failure to meet time or quality requirements in this project may result in rejection of the project outcomes by the Ministry.
  7. The decision on contestability may be deferred.
  8. There are errors within the Act that may result in either amendment of the Act or an increase in the work to be completed in the project.
  9. The failure of existing systems would hinder implementation of the new systems.

A comparison of the risks associated with the Ministry proposal and the alternative proposal is set out in the table below.

                                    Ministry     Alternative  
                                    proposal      proposal

Risk                              Prob.  Impact  Prob.  Impact
The Ministry of Fisheries is High High Low High inexperienced in managing a project of this size. There is a shortage of business High High Med Low process specialists and IT design, development and implementation specialists in the Ministry available to work on this project. Staff turnover may be increased Med Med Med Low due to the uncertainty associated with contestability. Stakeholders may not accept High High Low High implementation schedules and costs. Assumed model for contestability Low Low Low Low may change. The decision on contestability Low Low Low Low may be delayed. Failure to meet time or quality Low High Med High requirements in this project may result in rejection of the project outcomes by the Ministry. There are errors in the High Low High Low Fisheries Act 1996 which may require either amendment of the Act or an increase in the work to be completed in the project. The failure of existing systems Low Low Low Low would hinder implementation of the new systems.

Quality plan

Overall quality measures

In order to ensure that the project delivers outputs of the required quality, the following elements will be put in place:

  1. Experienced and competent people will be used for key project roles.
  2. The level of prescription in the RFP will be kept to a minimum to maximise the scope for innovation and involvement by external specialists.
  3. Policy development will involve internal and external peer review.
  4. The quality of all project outputs will be assessed by the Project Steering Group which will advise the Project Champion of its assessment.
  5. The Project Champion will determine whether project outputs are of sufficiently high quality.
  6. Actions required for successful delivery of quality project outputs will be monitored by the Project Manager who will report to the Project Sponsor.

Performance measures

The following actions will form the basis of the project Sponsor's assessment of whether the project is progressing in a manner which can deliver quality outcomes.

Appoint a business process specialist

There is a need for a specialist in business process design, to work on the business processes across all of the areas that have been identified as being affected by the Act. The business process specialist will be required on the following phases of the project:

  1. Complete the RFP
  2. Receive responses to the RFP
  3. Select two potential providers to prepare a MoU.

The specialist will be required, on initial plans, until 5 May 1997, at a probable outlay of $60,000

Appoint a systems analyst

There is a need for a systems analyst, to work with the business process specialist in defining the operational tasks that form each process.

The systems analyst will be required through phase 1 of the project to:

  1. Complete the RFP
  2. Receive responses to the RFP
  3. Assist in the selection of the two potential providers to prepare a MoU.

The systems analyst will be required, according to the initial plan, until 5 May 1997, at a probable outlay of $60,000.

Appoint a Project Manager

The Project Manager will be required until the end of the implementation, on 1 October 1998, at a probable outlay of $175,000.

The costs of the project have been estimated only until 30 June 1997. The outlay for the Project Manager until this date is estimated at $50,000.

Complete a RFP

The business process specialist, the systems analyst and the Project Manager will work together and will consult with the Ministry and the stakeholders to complete the RFP.

The contents of the RFP are described in Appendix 1: The Request for Proposals.

Develop evaluation criteria for the RFP

Based on the questions to be answered in the responses to the RFP, a set of weighted evaluation criteria will be developed.

Answer queries on RFP

Following the issue of the RFP, providers are likely to have questions on the content of the RFP and on their responses to it. A single contact person will have been nominated in the RFP, and that person will pass enquiries on to the appropriate person for a response.

In certain cases, responses to a question raised by one provider may be circulated to all providers.

Receive responses to the RFP

The responses to the RFP are expected to be received by 28 April 1997.

Evaluate responses to the RFP

The responses to the RFP will be evaluated against the evaluation criteria.

Each response is expected to provide

Select two potential providers to prepare a MoU

Two providers are expected to be selected to prepare a MoU, in conjunction with Ministry staff.

Selection may be partially based on factors such as:

The selection is expected to be made by 5 May 1997.

Develop MoUs

The development of each MoU will be carried out by a team comprising staff from the provider and from the Ministry. It is expected that a provider will deploy two staff and the Ministry one person on a full-time basis, with other Ministry staff, up to 0.5 FTE, providing advice as required.

Each MoU is expected to contain:

The MoUs are expected to be completed by 28 July 1997.

Choose a provider

The choice of provider will be based on the content of the MoUs and on the quality of the working relationship with the providers.

Particular aspects of the MoUs that should be taken into consideration will be:

The selection is expected to be made by 4 August 1997.

Develop and implement information systems

This is expected to be completed by 1 April 1998.

Commission the systems

Commissioning will be operated on the species whose fishing year begins on 1 April. The systems will be run as if they were live, with operational inputs and outputs, using this limited number of species, so that errors and omissions can be resolved without a major impact on the full range of species within the quota management system.

Commissioning is expected to be complete by 1 October 1998, for sign-off by the Ministry and stakeholders.

Implement the systems

The full system is expected to be implemented for the full QMS and for all features required by the Act on 1 October 1998.

Proposed project plan


Based upon the requirements of the Project Charter the following Project Plan provides a practical method for achieving the goals of the Charter

Work breakdown structure

This should be detailed for the first phase, and an overview for the remainder, following the "rolling wave" principles of project management.

The work breakdown structure describes the tasks to be completed for the project as follows:

Milestone chart

This chart will show the major events throughout the project, and in particular the relationship between the major events. It is expected that most milestones will relate to intermediate deliverables or the project outcomes.

The current chart shows the milestones appropriate to this project for the period to 30 June 1997.
Milestone Chart 1

Task Dependency Chart

This is a plan, usually in the form of an activity network diagram, showing the tasks and activities within the first phase, including dependencies of those tasks and activities. For subsequent phases, the plan will be in less detail.

This is shown in the Project Gantt chart.

Resource plan

This is a detailed estimate of the type, amount and period of use for all resources for the first phase, with less detail during subsequent phases.

The project design described in this proposal would minimise the amount of Ministry staff time required for Act implementation work. However, significant Ministry resources will still be required. In order to minimise the additional costs of Ministry staff involvement in the Act Implementation Project, the following guidelines are proposed.

  1. External specialists should be used wherever appropriate.
  2. Where possible Ministry staff already funded for work on the Act Implementation Project should be used.
  3. Wherever possible, Act implementation work should be undertaken as part of normal work programmes.
  4. Where staff not already funded for Act implementation work are required, agreed output standards for their normal work area should be renegotiated to allow the extra work to be undertaken.
  5. Where Ministry staff required for Act implementation work cannot be made available for this work without causing an unacceptable reduction in output standards in their normal area of work, backfilling should be considered, where feasible, on a case by case basis.

The estimated Ministry staff requirements for the project are set out in the following table.

Year       Task                 FTEs   Duration           

1996 -     Develop policy       6.0    Feb 1997 - Mar     
1997                                   1997               

           Assist RFP           1.5    Feb 1997 - Mar     
           development                 1997               

           Assist responses to  6.0    Apr 1997           

           Assist MoU           3.0    May 1997 - Jun     
           development                 1997               

           Participation in     2.0    Feb 1997 - Jun     
           project team and            1997               
           Project Steering                               

1997 -     Assist MoU           3.0    Jul 1997           
1998       development                                    

           Assist developer     3.0    Aug 1997 - Oct     

           Participation in     2.0    Jul 1997 - Oct     
           project team and            1998               
           Project Steering                               

Ministry staff resource requirements for the policy development aspects of this proposal are shown in a Gantt chart following.

Gantt chart 2
Gantt Chart 2

Appendix 1: The Request for Proposals


It is proposed to prepare and issue a high level Request for Proposal ("RFP") at an early stage in the project in order to:

Format for RFP

The format for the high level RFP will be as follows:

  1. Introduction
  2. Administration
  3. Terms and Conditions
  4. General Information for Proposers
  1. General Requirements
  1. Functional Requirements
    1. Proposals Required
      • System Specification and Prototype
      • Software Development
      • System Operation
    2. Format for Proposals

Functional Requirements

The Functional Requirements section of the RFP will document, for each designated sub-system:

Responses to RFP

It is expected that responses to the RFP will provide, in the first instance, a fixed price quotation for the development of a Memorandum of Understanding including System Specifications to meet the stated requirements.

System Specifications will include a detailed definition of the proposed technical architecture, system hardware, system software, and data dictionary, as well as a working prototype and full costing for software development and implementation.

Contractual arrangements with the selected supplier will ensure that Systems Specifications and Prototypes developed during this phase will become the property of the Purchaser so that the software development may proceed with an alternative supplier if required.

Responses to the RFP will also provide general details of supplier capabilities, with references, and cost estimates for the subsequent project phases of software development and implementation. Suppliers will also detail their capability and cost structure for operation of the proposed systems and services on an ongoing basis.

Following the approval of System Specifications by Stakeholders, a fixed price quotation will be obtained (on a competitive basis if required) for software development and implementation.

Appendix 2: The Memorandum of Understanding

It is proposed that the developer and implementer of the information systems should be selected following the development of two Memoranda of Understanding.

For the MoU development, each team will comprise staff from the provider and from the Ministry, who will work together as a team to develop an information systems solution for fisheries administrative services. The MoUs thus developed will present an agreed solution.

There will be two MoU teams, one for each of two potential providers, to enable a selection to be made of the preferred provider of the information systems.

The two providers will be paid for their work, on the basis that the Ministry will retain the intellectual property of any new ideas or inventions that emerge during the exercise.

There are several advantages to the MoU process:

  1. There is true contestability, as both providers will have reasonable access to Ministry staff for information.
  2. There is true competition, as more than one provider will be able to implement the information systems.
  3. The ideas that are raised by one team can be transferred to the other team, to encourage further innovation.
  4. The Ministry will be able to use all intellectual property developed by both teams.
  5. There will be clear agreement between the providers and the Ministry on the feasibility and appropriateness of both solutions.
  6. A MoU can be easily moved forward into the development of a contract, as both parties will already be in agreement on the outcomes of the implementation.