The journey to chaos starts all over again — Telstra systems failures

Walter Adamson
2 min readMar 17, 2016


The butterflies were flapping their wings again and brought the Telstra network failed for the 3rd time in a couple of months.

My postCulture creates systems chaos” — after the last outage — postulated that due to culture and complexity this was inevitable.

The systems creep ever forward toward the brink, and one day a butterfly flaps its wings.

So the original outage, which their failsafe systems guaranteed would never happen, was followed by declarations that this would be investigated and never happen again. Despite assurances this was followed by another outage — before they had any idea of why the first one happened — and now in shorter time the third outage.

What’s the prognosis?

More of the same.

Tomorrow we’ll see the promise of a major systems upgrade — a $1 billion “technology refresh”. That’s the well-trodden path.

Typically it is far easier for the existing management team to authorise a $1 billion “technology refresh” than to change the culture. (And it postpones the problem for another 10 years and by then they’ll have cashed out their options.)

Not sure how accountability works in Telstra but even in the remote circumstances that people were held accountable for the earlier failures and moved on, the new team won’t have any better luck. And luck it is given that nothing in culture or complexity can be cured quickly.

I’m not sure how many butterflies are about the flap their wings and send down the Telstra systems again, but there will be more.

Fix the culture, then you have chance of fixing the systems.

Join my newsletter to get my fitness insights each week (or so), includes my free 7 Secrets for Fitness After 50 guide →

Follow me on Quora for more health and fitness tips. Friend me on Goodreads.

Postscript. While I postulated “there will be more” failures no one could have predicted another one on the very next day after this post was written.



Walter Adamson

Optimistically curious, 70+ trail runner; 2X cancer; diabetic; Click “FOLLOW” for living longer better tips | My Newsletter 👉