I am convinced that the Myki ticketing system is going to be a hot potato for Premier Brumby in next year's election. Despite Transport Minister Lynne Kosky trying to spruik up the system with rhetoric, the system is far from being ready to release. It was done so yesterday only because the Victorian government is too embarrassed to admit it has failed to keep its promise to have the oft-delayed project finally launched by 31 Dec 2009.
From personal experience in managing software projects, it is very clear to me that Myki is far from ready to launch. There are just far too many un-met deliverables, the most critical of which is that the touch system on unwired transport (trams and buses) do not work properly. This is no small matter. In project management practice, the touch system would be considered critical enough to warrant testing right at the beginning of the project; i.e., at least 5 years ago.
If only 20% of commuters use trains only, while others use a combination of train, tram or bus, then common sense says Myki cannot be considered close to being ready when it is only useable on trains-only for now. From reports of test runs to top up tickets at the train stations, the failure rate is typical of software in an "alpha" run. "Alpha" testing is carried out when a software is newly written. After the obvious bugs are ironed out, then the software is released for beta testing to uncover more subtle bugs. In the case of Myki, the system looks like it is at alpha testing stage. It is a software developer's suicide attempt to try and release a software under such conditions. Even beta testing is done under carefully guarded conditions before it is deemed ready to launch. To have an idea about beta testing, think Microsoft and Windows releases.
As for Transport Minister Lynne Kosky, her answers to the press only show how unfamiliar she is with the project. Either she is too busy with other ministerial functions, or the Myki project is not high enough on her list for her to be too intimately informed of its progress. It is no wonder the project keeps slipping; the project appears to have taken on a life of its own. As stakeholders, Premier Brumby and team should have held tighter reins on Myki's progress, with periodic reviews on milestones and key stages. Looks like the only string they are capable of pulling in this case is the public purse string.