From The Editor


Missing payments, double-charged customers and delayed stealth fighter jets all resulted from software glitches this year”

What better way to start 2016 than to look at the worst software disasters in 2015? A January 18, 2016 Computerworld UK article by Techworld editor Charlotte Jee goes one better by also looking at some of the January 2016 software disasters before giving a good range from  2015 and the option to revisit 2014. Hopefully, some lessons are being learned. See extract below, Top software failures 2015/2016: Amazon, RBS, Starbucks – the worst software glitches this year.

A couple of January 2016 articles in the Australian public service publication, The Mandarin, give radically different views of public service management. The first is titled Tabloid mole working in a mad, Mad public service world, which refers to an anonymous publication by a NSW bureaucrat in The Advertiser (an Adelaide paper) on 7th January. The writer, a self-described  “faceless bureaucrat”, notes that  “After being made redundant from a large multinational organisation, entering the public service felt like I had gone back decades in a time machine. With the exception of the bland yet chaotic office, it was like stepping on to the set of Mad Men — handling reams of paperwork, lewd jokes, and an outsized gossip-to-work ratio.“

The other Mandarin article, on 5th January, paints a very different picture. The title is Coming soon: DTO’s first digital government services and the article reports progress on the DTO programme we looked at in our October article Whole of Government Agile. See below, The Australian Public Service:  Mad World or Agile Transformation?, which also refers to progress on another government initiative, reported in a Jan 22 2016 ACS Information Age article  by Ry Crozier, How Data61 plans to turn Australia’s R&D fortunes around.

EXCLUSIVE: Defence’s culture change progress report reveals women aren’t fooled when male bosses’ public enthusiasm is little more than a script and doesn’t match their actions.”

The above quote is from an article published in The Mandarin on 11.01.2016, based on an employee survey at the half way mark of Department of Defence’s five-year program to tackle abuse and other unacceptable behaviour in the workplace. The report reveals that “there is a still a long way to go.” See below, Don’t fake it: women see through culture change phonies.

On a more upbeat note, a recent study gives some cheerful advice about laughter in the workplace.

“People are often quick to dismiss humour at work as “playtime”, something that distracts people from focusing on really getting the work done. Our research suggests this could be a flawed conclusion – it may be precisely through humour that employees are able to do their work.”

The above quote is from a January 4, 2016  article in The Conversation by Jane Lê, Senior Lecturer, University of Sydney, reporting on in a recent two-year study focusing on a large telecommunications organisation dealing with stresses caused by major regulatory changes. . The research was jointly conducted with Professor Paula Jarzabkowski at London’s Cass Business School. The study found that “people were really good-humoured. They were always joking, making light of the difficult work they had to do. Wanting to better understand this dynamic, we delved deeper, looking specifically at why people were joking so much and what it accomplished.” See below,Joking your way to the top: why laughter is the best medicine for stressed executives.


Current Issue

Articles in the current Issue cover:

Top software failures 2015/2016: Amazon, RBS, Starbucks – the worst software glitches this year

“In mid-January 2016 the Nest ‘smart’ thermostat (owned by Google) was hit with a software glitch which left users, literally, out in the cold.”

The Australian Public Service:  Mad World or Agile Transformation?

““There’s $1.6 trillion globally spent on R&D. Our goal there is to capture point one percent of global R&D [spend]. And when we do we will be ten times bigger than we are today … in terms of the money flowing through the Data61 network.”

Don’t fake it: women see through culture change phonies.

“There are still clear cases where senior officers indulge in bullying and harassment of staff. Their superiors are often aware of this conduct yet excuse it as ‘just the way he/she is’ or because of the short term results they can achieve via this management style.”  

 Joking your way to the top: why laughter is the best medicine for stressed executives

“Managers should pay more attention to humour as an everyday response to tension. Next time you hear someone joking and laughing, think carefully about why they are doing that and what they are achieving.”



“The World’s most successful Awards Program”

Consensus ( runs a series of Awards Programs that identify the most innovative technology designed and developed in Australia (and some in New Zealand ). Over 400 evaluations of innovation have been conducted by the 130 Judges since the Awards were started in 2000. Recent independent analysis of the Winners of the Awards shows that 9 out of 10 (90%) of the Winners of Consensus Awards have gone on to perform exceptionally well internationally. The same research showed that across the board, the companies have enjoyed over 1200% increase in sales or value since they have won Awards.

Based upon these achievements, Consensus can truly claim to be the World’s Most Successful Awards Program. A Consensus Showcase in early March 2016 will profile over 100 CEOs of previous winners. The value of the companies that will be present is in excess of $8 Billion. Assistant Minister for Innovation Wyatt Roy has been invited to present the Consensus Awards at the same event, consisting of the Consensus Software Awards, Consensus GreenTech Awards, Consensus Innovation Awards, Consensus Student Innovation Awards, Consensus IT Professional Awards, Consensus IT Writers Awards and the BigInsights BigData Innovation Awards. For more information please email



Quote of the Day

“It has been said that the great scientific disciplines are examples of giants standing on the shoulders of other giants.  It has also been said that the software industry is an example of midgets standing on the toes of other midgets.” – Alan Cooper

Quote from Yesteryear

To create a new standard it takes something that’s not just a little bit different. It takes something that’s really new and really captures people’s imagination. And the Macintosh, of all the machines I’ve ever seen, is the only one that meets that standard. “  – Bill Gates


Wishing all our readers a great year in 2016.

Ted Smillie

QESP Chairman