If it takes one man 3 days to dig a hole…
I was talking to someone working on the Kings Cross regeneration project and he told a sorry tale that has a certain resonance with IT projects.
So they were drilling a big hole that had to be drilled and they came across a major sewer. Now someone should’ve known the sewer was down there but clearly they didn’t and the hole drillers had a problem on their hands. You can’t drill through a sewer, the sewer had to be moved. And it is no easy task moving a major London sewer, it requires major bypass surgery. Costs necessarily spiral – it’s a new project building a new sewer and with the hole unable to be drilled the timescales of the regeneration project slip.
But that’s not the end of the story. Apparently they start digging a new trench to lay the new sewer bypass and it is by a building full of business people who like to have their office windows open and clearly don’t take kindly to all the noise and dust from the trench being dug. And work on the new sewer grinds to a halt as negotiations take place on what to do. They have the windows open because it is hot weather and they have no air conditioning. Time slips further and costs escalate even more as the solution is agreed. Until the contractors have installed air-conditioning in the building no work can continue on digging the trench, no work can continue on bypassing the sewer and no work can continue on digging the hole.