Lessons from automation failure

News Story
- 6 Oct 2022 ( #1097 ) - Auckland, New Zealand
1 min read
Automation testing at Auckland harbour
Automation testing at Auckland harbour

There are several key recommendations following Ports of Auckland’s failed automation project.

An independent report into the failure found inadequate input from senior management and a lack of engagement from managers.

The report recommends that trusted employees who intimately understand the organisation's business must be included when a team is established to evaluate a business problem and potential solutions. 

It also recommends that the person appointed to lead a project must have the right qualifications for the role, in light of the particular project at hand, and have the necessary interpersonal skills to lead a cross-functional team.

The report by Mark Binns was scathing about the vendor selection, and the recommendations call for “a structured process for vendor selection … with the criteria upon which the selection is to be made established and agreed and any necessary additional safeguards implemented so that the selection is objectively supportable”.

The report notes that former directors remain firmly of the opinion that the project should not have been terminated. “It is not within the scope of the review to form a view on whether the decision to terminate was correct or not, although the current board's decision to terminate the project based on the two independent reports it had commissioned is understandable,” Binns concludes.

As reported in July, an independent review was initiated after Ports of Auckland dumped its automation project after six years of failing to fully implement it, writing off NZD65 million in the process.



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