Virgin Toilet Antics Again…

Virgin Train

I am just on the train on the way home from London and I have just seen yet another person mortified by the fact they forgot to lock the automatic sliding doors…

I have seen this a few times over the years like many fellow travellers, but I have  never really given it that much thought until now. It struck me how wrong a whole raft of people have got this design. I can’t for the life of me think of a reason why an automatic toilet door wouldn’t automatically lock after pressing the close button on the inside of the cubicle. You have to press a second lock button, which a lot of people forget to do as they subconsciously assume the same!

There is a serious point here about getting requirements right. How much would it cost to fix this now? How much would it have cost during planning? I don’t know, but a multiple of 100x is often used in the business analyst fraternity.

Usually, functional stuff like this is picked up early, but it is much more common for the non-functional stuff to be forgotten about until the end. Examples include:-

  • How are we going to provide support?
  • How much will it cost to operate?
  • How secure is it?
  • Does it comply with information governance law?
  • Etc.

In extreme cases the only solution is to call in the bulldozers and start again!

4 comments… add one

  • Greg 06/08/2013, 10:03

    Toilet doors do not automatically lock on closure to prevent pranksters locking all of a trains toilets out of use. This is a return on experience from early operation. A prankster would enter the toilet and dart out before the door closes, thus the toilet is locked with nobody present inside and the toilet is lost to the service from the remainder of the journey. I trust this helps the understanding of the logic. Virgin Trains are now introducing a verbal message via an inbuilt mp3 player that will confirm whether or not the door is locked on door closure.

  • Tony Bright 08/08/2013, 07:45

    Thanks Greg for the explanation makes sense and will be a big improvement. Do you happen to know why there are separate buttons to open/close the main doors – I would have thought one would do?

  • Ian Shacklock 15/12/2013, 10:03

    Why can’t they just provide a latch on the inside of the door?

    • Tony Bright 15/12/2013, 11:22

      Yes, it reminds me about NASA spending millions developing a pen that would work in space and the Russians just used pencils – it’s a myth apparently


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