The following entry is a record in the “Catalogue of Catastrophe” – a list of failed and troubled projects from around the world.
Qantas – Australian airline
Project name : Jetsmart
Date : Feb 2008 Cost :$40M
“Jetsmart” engineering parts management system is renamed “Dumbjet” by aircraft engineers because the system is so difficult to use. Failure to engage the engineers who would be the eventual users of the system into the requirements and design processes resulted in a system that the engineers deemed to be unusable once it was launched. After just a few years in operation (during which time some staff refused to use it and unions threatened industrial action), the system is dumped and a new system introduced. In one of the most egregious comments I’ve ever heard, Qantas’s Chief Financial officer is quoted in Australian IT Magazine as having said “We wouldn’t ask the engineers what their views on our software systems were. We’ll put in what we think is the appropriate for us”. Apparently the definition of “us” was too limited in this particular project and the failure to engage the right stakeholders resulted in the total rejection of the project and the need to start from scratch with a replacement. In the second take at the project Qantas learned its lesson and did indeed engage with the stakeholders.
Contributing factors as reported in the press :
Lack of stakeholder engagement. Requirements solicitation management failure. Change management failure.
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