Project failures are usually defined in terms of technical and business impact -- non-functional systems, missed schedules, and over-run budgets. But how do failures affect users? Depending on the circumstances, the impact can be dramatic, inconvenient, or sometimes even comical, as in this story.
The Daily Mail describes how a truck driver, following directions from his GPS device, got immovably wedged into a narrow country lane. The trucking company refused to pay weekend removal fees, forcing the driver to sleep in the truck for three days:
The Czech driver, who was in his forties and called Yuri, was on his way to pick up a consignment of TVs from a depot at nearby Lee Moor and was led up the lane which runs between the A379 and the A38 by his sat nav.
Mat Auburn, 19, whose family live within yards of the scene said that there had been similar sat nav blunders in the past with delivery lorries - but nothing on this scale.
Mat said the Czech haulage company decided to wait until a weekday rather than attempting an expensive weekend rescue.
Eventually a tractor was hired to pull the lorry out of the lane, with the help of a tree surgeon, who made sure minimal damage was done to vegetation.
The impact on users of IT project failures has traditionally been under-emphasized, diminishing an important issue. To rectify the situation, my future discussions of failures will attempt to highlight how real end-users are affected when projects and technology fail.