Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The most highly publicised software failure in history

I read this article on hard copy of Information Age Mag and felt that this is a really good learning source for most of us involved in this high risk industry.

A brief version of this could be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_Case_File
Longer version from IEEE is available at http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/sep05/1455

Being FBI of USA and 9/11 probably gave it extra prominence which resulted in being highly publicised. Even if you forget the media part of it, this has been a real failure and actually an embarrassing one. When you go through the identified reasons for the failure, its clear that most of the errors that it made are fairly basic, such as requirements creep and communication problems.

When I though about it, I felt how important it is to make sure that you get your basics right during a project life cycle. For a BA, the main learning point to be taken out of this is that importance of finalising requirements and scope before moving in to development. It also gives learning points for Project Mangers and Architects/Designers.

I highly suggest everyone to read it and mainly identify the key reasons for the failure and take it as the learning out of this. Most importantly, apply that learning in projects to make sure these mistakes are not done.

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