Cross-government and public administration

The DECA: Understanding challenges in delivering project objectives

The Delivery Environment Complexity Analytic (DECA) is a tool developed by the National Audit Office (NAO) to provide a high level overview of the challenges, complexity and risks to delivery of a project, programme, policy or area of work.

National Audit Office

It provides a focus for discussion and consolidation of existing knowledge through consideration  of the likely impact of 12 factors which are key influencers of success or failure. These can then be shaped to enable the creation of a delivery environment that is more likely to result in a successful outcome.

Users decide whether the potential impact from each factor is high, medium or low to build an overall picture of the delivery environment and its complexity. The completed DECA gives users a better understanding of the challenges the organisation faces in realising its policy aims and/or delivering a project. It does this by considering areas of challenge, drawing out where the potential risks are, their likely consequences and potential opportunities.

It can be used to develop a broad, high-level understanding of an organisation, for assessing the challenges surrounding the implementation of major projects. It is also a useful tool for wider strategic planning and checking whether risk registers appropriately capture and address these factors.

October 2013