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Failures - why did these efforts fail? AZ, FL voting machines Quadraphonic sound - LPs AND CDs http://www.dantiques.com/quad.htm Blockbuster Video, Eastman Kodak, Low-fat fast food / Non-nicotine cigarettes Commercials in movie theaters IBM PC Jr with wireless keyboard http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,125772-page,4/article.html http://www.digibarn.com/collections/devices/pcjr-chicklet-keyboard/index.html 1970s-era US compact cars http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcNeorjXMrE http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/1977/09/dowie.html
6 Questions often asked in Pre Project Testing Is it the right system? Will it solve the right problem? It is possible to over-automate - some systems don’t justify their costs. People problems do not need, and will not respond to technological solutions. “If it ain’t broke, don’t go broke fixing it.”
The Technology Scale Animal Manual Mechanical Tension/Movement Hydraulic Pressure Pneumatic Pressure Mechanical Engine Electrical Magnetic - switch closure Electrical Assist - amplification Electrical Control - stimulus and response Computational Assist Computational Origination
Purpose Is there a business or economic justification for the project? Is there a societal justification? Is there an academic justification? Is there majority or managerial support?
Preparation and Coverage Is an adequate / optimal team available? Is an adequate / optimal development environment possible? Is the solution technology achievable? Is there adequate financial backing? Where’s the contingency?
Question 2 What is at risk? Systems for which failure = disaster are a poor bet. Are partial results better than nothing? Is intermittent operation better than nothing? Is a subset of full function available upon failure? Is the subset better than nothing?
The first atomic test: The observers set up betting pools on the results of the test. Predictions ranged from zero (a complete dud) to 18 kilotons of TNT (predicted by physicist I. I. Rabi, who won the bet), to destruction of the state of New Mexico, to ignition of the atmosphere and incineration of the entire planet. This last result had been calculated to be almost impossible, although for a while it caused some of the scientists some anxiety. James Hershberg (1993), James B. Conant: Harvard to Hiroshima and the Making of the Nuclear Age. 948 pp. ISBN 0-394-57966-6 p. 233
Chance of Success vs.Effect of Failure Has the path of least resistance been chosen? - All factors. Is a dissimilar backup system required? Is a failed system worse than not implementing the system? Will a competitive system threaten your delivery?
Question 3 How big and complex will it have to be? Smaller, simpler software projects have distinct advantages over large, complex ones.
Blackout of 2003 Was Result of Domino Effect In August 2003, a massive blackout left more than 60 million customers in the U.S. and Canada without electricity. The cause? Some say a software bug in an Ohio utility's system was to blame. The blackout started in Ohio, when fallen trees took down power lines managed by Akron, Ohio-based FirstEnergy Corp. But eSarcasm's Tynan said that, because a critical alarm did not sound, the problem spread to other parts of the country. "A computer cascade. That's the reason all those failures happened," he said. Testifying before Congress, Pete Burg, the chief executive of FirstEnergy, said, "We strongly believe that such a widespread loss of power could only result from a combination of events, not from a few isolated events." But in an interview with InformationWeek, Stan Johnson, manager of infrastructure security at the North American Electric Reliability Council, said that if the alarm had gone off as planned, the blackout could have been contained. "It didn't cause the power to go off, but it was a big contributor to the lack of response by FirstEnergy," Johnson said. http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/AheadoftheCurve/top-technololgy-disasters-decade-lost-data-computer-hacks
Feasibility Can a SW Requirements Spec be written to solve the problem at hand? Can finances support 2x the project cost? Can the customer support 2x the project schedule? Can the “delivery environment” support the solution? Where does the best solution fall on a technology scale?
Question 4 How will it fit into the existing universe? The nondigital portions of a system dwell in the real world, whose behavior is constrained by physical laws. Keeping much of the system nondigital may yield a more predictable system.
Delivery Culture Customer support/catalyst and help Education, training required of users Acceptance Satisfaction Gratitude
Development Culture Chance of turnover, burnout limit Team or management resistance to optimal development scheme Management support/catalyst and help Team culture / parallel development Personalities
Question 5 What will it require of its users? It is inhumane to use people as passive monitors, and then require them to intervene suddenly when things go astray. We don’t improve the situation when we turn airline pilots or nuclear power plant operators into scapegoats for bad system design.
The case of the loss of engine power In 1985, a China Airlines 747 suffered a slow loss of power from its outer right engine. This would have caused the plane to yaw to the right, but the autopilot compensated, until it finally reached the limit of its compensatory abilities and could no longer keep the plane stable. At that point, the crew did not have enough time to determine the cause of the problem and to take action: the plane rolled and went into a vertical dive of 31,500 feet before it could be recovered. The aircraft was severely damaged and recovery was much in doubt (NTSB 1986; Wiener 1988).
Question 6 Will it require extensive security? Data wants to be free. People will find ways to get information.
In what has been called the largest credit card crime of all time, earlier this year, Heartland Payment Systems announced that hackers had broken into the computers it uses to process about 100 million transactions each month for 175,000 merchants. The hack was uncovered in January, after Visa and MasterCard notified Heartland about suspicious transactions. Heartland processes card payments for restaurants and other businesses. In August, three men were indicted by a grand jury on charges related to masterminding a scheme to steal more than 130 million credit and debit card numbers and personally identifying information from Heartland, 7-Eleven Inc. and other companies. According to Information Week, Heartland said in August that the breach cost the company $32 million in legal fees, fines, settlements and forensics, so far.
One Aspect - Market factors No advantage over existing brands (OS/2 Warp) http://www.guidebookgallery.org/ads/magazines/os2/os220b/pics/02 Early adopter (Apple Newton) http://www.msu.edu/~luckie/gallery/mp2000.htm Lack of interest (Tablet PC?) Changing standards (SONY Betamax) Lack of brand identity in image-driven category (Coleco “Adam” computers) http://www.vintage-computer.com/adam.shtml Ignorance of buyer behavior for product category (Remote Control Walkman) Mispositioning (Retail on the Internet, better than reality issue) Failed opportunity (Xerography) User Indignation: VISTA, Segway, EA games, Sony DRM
Unlikely successes - passed Pre Project Testing Personal computers DVD players George Foreman Grill http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Foreman_Grill Cable TV Expensive water SUVs Brand names, prominent on clothes Designer house paint http://www.ralphlaurenhome.com/products/paint/ Bose Wave Radio http://www99.epinions.com/reviews/Bose_Wave_Radio_II $150 sneakers
Digital photography Fuel efficient cars Cell phones GPS Debit/Cards Remotes - for everything Mp3 players and digital music delivery Digital movie/TV delivery - broadband is replacing cable eBooks iPads vs. Tablet PCs - why? http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-20018717-37.html ? Sure things