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Australia The Almighty Buck

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology Dumps Water Data Project 112

Posted by samzenpus
from the that-wasn't-the-plan dept.
littlekorea writes "Australia's weather bureau has racked up bills of $38 million for a water data system, based on Red Hat Linux, MySQL and Java, that was originally scheduled to cost somewhere between $2 million and $5 million. The Bureau's supplier, an ASX-listed IT services provider SMS Management and Technology, did a good job of embedding itself in the bureau, with all changes having to be made by the original consultant that built it."
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Australia's Bureau of Meteorology Dumps Water Data Project

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  • by magic maverick (2615475) on Friday February 07, 2014 @05:46AM (#46184365) Homepage Journal

    Hi Folks,
    It's your regular neighborhood troll magic maverick , and I've got a small couple of requests for you.
    1. In the firehose, vote down as offtopic anything that isn't related to the beta. Vote up anything that is related to the beta.
    2. Join the boycott from 10th to 17th Feb. Demonstrate that without the commentators, /. will obviously die.

    Cheers,
    Now back to your regular scheduled trolling.

  • on topic thread here (Score:5, Interesting)

    by crutchy (1949900) on Friday February 07, 2014 @06:22AM (#46184509)

    this article seems to imply that linux was the reason for the cost blowout... and not that it was managed by a government agency.

    look at any project administered by any government agency around the world... how many are on budget? why is that? it has nothing to do with linux and everything to do with government waste

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 07, 2014 @06:27AM (#46184521)

    In the United States, the standard railroad gauge is exactly four feet, eight-and-one-half inches wide. Why? Because that's the way they built them in England. Why did they build them that way in England? Because that's how wide English tramways were. And why were they that width? Because the people who built the trams also built wagons, and wagons wheels were that far apart. Why? Because the ancient Roman roads in England had wheel ruts exactly that far apart. Why? Because those ancient ruts were made by the wheels of Roman war chariots, and their wheels were exactly four feet, eight-and-a-half-inches wide. Why? Because Roman war chariots were just wide enough to accomodate two Roman war horses.

  • by Coeurderoy (717228) on Friday February 07, 2014 @06:49AM (#46184611)

    This waste of public money illustrate the fact that companies might be "Pushing Open Source" but not wanting to be "Open Source"...

    Using "free" software is not really relevant if the company does not integrate a policy of putting software back into to "free" pool...
    If they would use best practice, the level of contribution (+ probabley higher reuse) would make sure that they are not the "only player avaiable"...

    And of course going over 80% increase of the initial deal should get you axed anyway, how the hell did it grow to 38 in 18 month ?

        Somebody willing to "show" his/her code would probably not end up in this situation, additionally even if the deal would be "more expensive than initially planned"
        at least the Australian government would have something they could promote, share, sell to other countries....
        That way they just have a big hole in the public account (and probably some people who have got a very nice and totally undeserved bonus of some form or another...)

  • by maynard (3337) <j DOT maynard DO ... AT gmail DOT com> on Friday February 07, 2014 @07:26AM (#46184753) Journal

    According to TFA:

    SMS Management and Technology won the IT initial development contract in June 2009 in a deal initially expected to be worth at least $2.5 million per year.

    The audit office questioned the value of the project, which is estimated to have reached $38.5 million for associated systems and applications by 30 June 2013.

    So, across four years what should have cost $10M wound up costing nearly $40M. However:

    Within 18 months, however, four change orders had been processed, increasing the value of the deal to over $15.4 million in the first two years

    Thus, change orders from a client who changed milestones mid-stream:

    The milestones for the contract were not tightly specified, nor was the extent to which the industry partner staff would be integrated with or separated from internal bureau IT staff roles and deliverables.

    Leading to a situation where, "The contract began to resemble a time and materials contract rather than a fixedâfee contract contingent on achieving milestones and deliverables." Meaning that the client kept changing their mind so often the consulting firm was required to baby a system they hadn't thought through to begin with and had thus grown into a monstrosity that served disparate and disorganized goals.

    No wonder it went over budget.

    But that has nothing to do with open source and everything to do with bad project management. Notice that they've solved the problem by choosing "...a replacement, based on an off-the-shelf software product."

    Which, if it meets their needs - bully for them. But is more likely an imposed solution to a problem they hadn't clearly defined to begin with. Thus, it's likely they'll find themselves in the same situation. Not because open source software is bad, or the commercial software is bad, or the consulting firm was probably bad... but because the bureau of meteorology has no idea what it wants to do with this data.

    The problem here is with undefined goals set by management. Until they face that fact they'll go round this merry-go-round again and again. And taxpayers will foot the bill.

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.

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