We always hear about issues with systems, applications, or services caused by poor code quality or missed defects, but what happens when these problems become life threatening? Recently an article posted by npr discussed the early release of dangerous prisoners who are now being charged for murder. According to the article, Governor Jay Inslee of Washington State reported that more than 3,200 prisoners were released early due to a software defect.
This was not a result of good behavior, but rather an issue caused by a software glitch within the Department of Corrections. As reported by the governor’s general counsel, Nick Brown, approximately 3% of the occurrences since 2002 should not have been allowed. This software glitch has gone unnoticed for more than 10 years and as a result dangerous criminals have made their way back into society.
Application portfolio analysis was at the center of discussion as Forrester Research Vice President and Principal Analyst, Margo Visitacion, presented how Agile development is affecting the application development process and IT’s portfolio planning. Ms. Visitacion explained that in the “Age of the customer,” they want more for less and expect companies to fluidly change based on their needs and demands. As companies shift their attention to customers’ experiences rather than production figures, it’s leading directly to higher revenue and a longer-lasting relationships.
So how do organizations remain agile to customer needs? They employ an Agile portfolio management process that collects metrics while aligning with the budgeting process; understanding that requirements will change. Using this strategy, companies gain clear visibility into their portfolio to measure risk, cost and complexity based upon objective measurements. The data collected during development enables them to defend current positioning and communicate more effectively with the business.
Here are some recent thought provoking questions, along with supporting answers, which we received during the Forrester webinar:
Software risks to the business, specifically Application Resiliency, headline a recent executive roundtable hosted by CAST and sponsored by IBM Italy, ZeroUno and the Boston Consulting Group. European IT executives from the financial services industry assembled to debate the importance of mitigating software risks to their business.
In the current tech scene, it has become common practice to refer to programmers as engineers. It seems that if you aren’t part of sales or marketing teams you are now entitled to being designated as an engineer. However, what has been forgotten over the 50 years of looking to turn software development into a legitimate engineering practice, is that we still haven’t reached the aspiration of being just that: a legitimate engineering practice. Traditional engineers have to go through stringent regulation, certification, and apprenticeships in order to gain the title. This creates an implicit responsibility of providing reliability and public safety. Software development hasn’t reached this point yet – software quality and standards are not universally valued.
So why is the tech industry using the engineering title to describe its technical workers?
Southwest Airlines is the latest victim of the airline scandal. What scandal? It’s the one where airlines continue to cause travel delays due to poorly managed IT systems. It’s the one that caused Southwest to delay 836 flights on Monday and distribute HAND written tickets to passengers because of a ‘software glitch’. Southwest isn’t alone. United Airlines grounded hundreds of flights in July and American Airlines did the same in September and April. How long will consumers have to wait before these organizations figure out that the glitches are caused by bad software quality, which creates bad service?
When a business develops software, new technologies eventually outgrow the software. But that doesn’t mean the software stops working, which is why businesses continue to use legacy software. In fact, after all the fixes and patches, the legacy software still gets used because it simply works, even if it means the users are forced to run older operating systems and older web browsers to use it.