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Tram Wreck: What myki Can Teach Us About Big, Expensive IT Projects


The Victorian Auditor General’s Office (VAGO) has just tabled a report into the ‘Operational Effectiveness of the myki Ticketing System’. For those of you who are Melburnians or who have visited Melbourne, you will know how much this ticketing system is despised. Even more than Collingwood. Myki was meant to make public transport travel so much easier in Melbourne and the State of Victoria. But it hasn’t turned out that way. The reason myki is so hated my Melburnians is that it is a big, expensive IT project that has gone horribly wrong, yet our Government in their wisdom decides we should live with it despite its many shortcomings and having the opportunity to use a cheaper alternative. Unfortunately, this is a global phenomenon: in the UK there is the NHS computer system and in the US there is healthcare.gov. Some consultants have claimed that 75% of IT projects fail. Why do so many big, expensive IT projects fail to deliver? What can the sorry, sordid tale of myki tell us about why IT projects fail? And what can we learn from it?