10
   

A strange time to be a software engineer...

 
 
Reply Thu 24 Oct, 2013 11:01 am
Coming into work today, I heard highlights from congressional testimony that included questions about whether "end-to-end" tests were adequate, access to server logs and questions about scalability.

These are all topics that every software engineer knows and fears. Any of us know that being questioned about end-to-end tests or asked for server logs is not a good thing at all.

It is an odd feeling hearing these dreaded conversations that usually happen in closed conference rooms happen in public.
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 10 • Views: 9,475 • Replies: 46
No top replies

 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Oct, 2013 12:39 pm
@maxdancona,
I'm pretty sure I would agree if I knew more about the job and subject. Any idea why congress is taking such testimony?
RABEL222
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Oct, 2013 12:40 pm
@maxdancona,
Could you give me a place to look this stuff up so I would have some idea of what the hell your talking about?
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Oct, 2013 12:41 pm
@roger,
Most likely looking for fraud. $650 million for software that doesn't work. Someone mucked up bad.

An example of the crappy coding can be found here: https://www.healthcare.gov/marketplace/global/en_US/registration.js
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Oct, 2013 12:43 pm
@roger,
Quote:
Any idea why congress is taking such testimony?


Yes.

They royally screwed up a big software project. This isn't the first time a large software project has run into big problems after it has been released... but they really should have gotten this one right. You really should do end-to-end testing, run at scale, before a big public release.

All us engineers know this, but given time constraints it is surprising how many times corners are cut.
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Oct, 2013 12:44 pm
@RABEL222,
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/24/obamacare-website-testify-congress-live

http://www.c-span.org/Events/Lawmakers-Updated-on-Health-Law-Implementation/10737442257-1/
roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Oct, 2013 12:50 pm
@McGentrix,
Thanks to both of you.
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Oct, 2013 12:50 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

Quote:
Any idea why congress is taking such testimony?


Yes.

They royally screwed up a big software project. This isn't the first time a large software project has run into big problems after it has been released... but they really should have gotten this one right. You really should do end-to-end testing, run at scale, before a big public release.

All us engineers know this, but given time constraints it is surprising how many times corners are cut.



Time constraints? They had 3 years.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Oct, 2013 12:55 pm
@McGentrix,
Have you ever been part of a large failed software rollout, McGentrix? If you had then you would understand.

I am not here to defend it, I am just saying that most experienced software engineers have been there.

McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Oct, 2013 12:57 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

Have you ever been part of a large failed software rollout, McGentrix? If you had then you would understand.




heh, no. But I have been project manager of many successful software rollouts. Does that count? Does that allow me to understand?
0 Replies
 
RABEL222
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Oct, 2013 01:08 pm
@Butrflynet,
Damn Butterfly. Now I'll have to do a bunch of reading. I thought just a one or two word explanation would be adequate.
0 Replies
 
Baldimo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Oct, 2013 01:09 pm
@maxdancona,
I work for a startup-ish company. 3 years ago it was just an idea, and it is mostly software. We use pre-manufactured hardware (we didn't invent the hardware only the software). I understand problems with a new roll out, but this level of failure? If my company had that many issues upon first release of the OS, we would have been out of business. You can't have a less then 10% success rate with your program and then pass the buck.

This morning sounded a lot like a pass the buck session.
0 Replies
 
RABEL222
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Oct, 2013 01:09 pm
@roger,
Me to.
0 Replies
 
RABEL222
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Oct, 2013 01:26 pm
@Butrflynet,
I got about 5 min of the republicans on c span blaming Obama for the screw up and than it quit downloading. I guess all government is having problems with computer glitches even the omnipotent republicans.
contrex
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Oct, 2013 02:00 pm
In the United Kingdom, where I come from, there is a dismal history of failed government IT contracts, some of them costing amounts like 100 million pounds before they had to pull the plug.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Oct, 2013 02:26 pm
I am a bit surprised at the responses. There are plenty of big software project launches that have failed from Windows 8 to the Mars Climate orbiter.

I am not trying to make a political statement or excuse anyone.

I am just pointing out that since upwards of 40% of software projects fail, and there are many examples of spectacularly bad software rollouts, many of us in the industry for any time have experience with this.

I have been on both successful teams and failed teams. That is why the congressional testimony made me chuckle a little.

If everyone else here has had the good fortune of only working on spectacularly successful projects, then I am happy for that.

Baldimo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Oct, 2013 02:31 pm
@maxdancona,
I did find it odd, that the CEO lady when asked if they told the govt, that the product wasn't ready, she replied with "Well we didn't say anything, because it wasn't our call to make."

I almost cried out loud. What do you mean it wasn't your call to make? It was indeed your job to tell the govt, that it wasn't ready. Your company was writing the code, you should have said something! 3 years and millions of dollars, and you didn't think it was important to let the customer know that the product wasn't ready yet? How does that work?
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Oct, 2013 02:37 pm
@RABEL222,
The Guardian link I posted gives summaries of the testimony.
RABEL222
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Oct, 2013 02:45 pm
@Butrflynet,
K.-----
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Oct, 2013 03:11 pm
@Baldimo,
I didn't find that surprising at all. That is the way the contract business works.

If a company is contracted to provide a specific set of functionality, their focus is to provide that specific set of functionality. If their requirements are met, then they have fulfilled their contract. It would odd for them to worry about integration (beyond what is part of their contract). The company tasked with, and paid for, doing integration tests is responsible for doing the integration tests.

That is normal in the software business.

(I just re-read my response and realized how odd it is that I give more blame to the Obama administration than Baldimo does, but I stand by my opinion).
 

Related Topics

Clone of Micosoft Office - Question by Advocate
Do You Turn Off Your Computer at Night? - Discussion by Phoenix32890
The "Death" of the Computer Mouse - Discussion by Phoenix32890
Windows 10... - Discussion by Region Philbis
Surface Pro 3: What do you think? - Question by neologist
Windows 8 tips thread - Discussion by Wilso
GOOGLE CHROME - Question by Setanta
.Net and Firefox... - Discussion by gungasnake
Hacking a computer and remote access - Discussion by trying2learn
 
  1. Forums
  2. » A strange time to be a software engineer...
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.04 seconds on 10/26/2021 at 03:12:29