Requirements engineering and the Bill

Courtesy of the inimitable Inspector Gadget, a wonderful example of failure to consult stakeholders in procurement. Someone decided to buy a fleet of new national procurement standard police vehicles without adequately consulting the poor schmucks who were going to use them. So what happened? Read the whole thing...

My favourite "feature":

5. The new red and blue strobes on the roof of the vehicles are so bright that they disorientate drivers on the motorway who are trying to pass an accident scene at night, and create a second accident right on top of the original one. A fire fighter jumps out of a fire appliance and runs over to the police crew shouting ‘get those bloody lights off, we can’t see anything ahead’.

You'd think that the basics of requirements engineering ("consult the bloody stakeholders!") would be observed by anyone in charge of such an expensive purchase, and that they'd realise that response officers would be the most likely stakeholders to push the new vehicles to their performance limits. But nooooo... I suspect that actual testing simply involved senior officers driving the vehicles at speed, verifying they didn't blow up or drink too much fuel, checking that the doors locked and then patting themselves on the back saying "job done!". You can imagine that they wouldn't be keen on waiting around until night-time to try out the vehicle and its lighting systems in typical response scenarios; they might not be home until after dinner time and that would never do.

Congratulations to whatever car manufacturer managed to palm off these vehicles on the UK police force. Your salesweasels deserve a big bonus. Of course, if your salesweasel's car is TWOC'd and set on fire, and you discover that the thief in question escaped from police custody by winding down the car window and jumping out, that would be ironic.

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