As I arrived at the train station this morning to make my daily journey into the office I noticed something really annoying. The roof gutter at the station was leaking profusely. Worse still was the fact that, since it was raining, everyone was huddled around the leak as this was where we were supposed to be under shelter.

The interesting thing is that the station had been fully renovated only a month ago. The guilty old gutter had been freshly painted too. Good to see my tax payer dollars hard at work! I hate to think how much was paid to the contracting company to undertake the station renovations. But in my mind, all they did was try and polish a turd.

So this begs the questions. Who oversaw the project? And, what was their definition of ‘done’?

When building software we create an Acceptance Criteria – a definition of what is mutually agreed to show that something is completed to satisfaction. Did anyone actually write in the Train Station Renovation contract an Acceptance Criteria for the project? Something as simple as ‘must not leak water’? Or was it just assumed that a station ‘shelter’ would be water proof? Oh! The guy who signed the Renovation contract has never used public transport. Silly me.

I’m sure this is going to work out really well for the contractor though. A nice juicy piece of work to repair the gutters. Happy Days! Not.

Please, please, please make sure the Acceptance Criteria of your project is fit for purpose. Whether it be an automated ticketing system or a roof gutter. Everyone needs to be on the same page. It ensures less rework and everyone’s happiness.


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