The perils of technology planning

Melbourne's Southern Cross Station (you probably know it as Spencer Street) currently resembles a war zone, as construction crews frantically race to finish an AU$700 million rebuilding project before the Commonwealth Games kick off on March 15. The finished station appears set to be quite impressive, but the current in-between setup provides an interesting minor example of how the best-laid IT plans can be disrupted by external factors.

Melbourne's Southern Cross Station (you probably know it as Spencer Street) currently resembles a war zone, as construction crews frantically race to finish an AU$700 million rebuilding project before the Commonwealth Games kick off on March 15.

The finished station appears set to be quite impressive, but the current in-between setup provides an interesting minor example of how the best-laid IT plans can be disrupted by external factors.

The computerised on-platform displays through Melbourne's Metlink rail system have always full details of the next train service due in, and then a brief mention of the train that will follow at the bottom of the screen.

However, since some of these displays are currently encased in temporary wooden enclosures, the bottom line is no longer visible, and hapless passengers can do little more than hope they're on the right platform. A well-planned interface has thus been scuttled by a carpenter suffering from serious time pressures.

Another glitch: if you visit the URL www.spencerstreetstation.com.au, you get a full overview of the rebuilding project and the new station branding.

If, however, you choose to go to www.southerncrossstation.com.au, you simply get redirected to the main Metlink site. Oops.

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