The Trouble With Software (and what to do about it)


Should software be patentable? That’s the wrong question to ask

Posted in Programming by Ernie Schell on June 6, 2013

Marty Goetz — the man granted the first software patent in 1968 — says a true invention implemented in hardware is equally patentable if implemented in software. He has a valid argument. I have argued against software patents in the past, but only overly broad patents that define an approach that has never been implemented.

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Leandro Faria on Scrum of Scrums: Running Agile on Large Projects

Posted in Agile Development,Extreme Programming,Programming by Ernie Schell on June 6, 2013

Want to use Agile practices on large projects? Does Agile only apply to small projects, or only to the simplest of projects?

By no means! — says Leandro Faria post on ScrumAlliance

The IT Revolution Press

I highly recommend The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Grow by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford. This excellent business novel is a great read and realistic portrayal of the trials and tribulations of in-house software development and management in a large corporation. It is also “prescriptive,” suggesting a three-level approach to resolving issues that often cripple the IT process by isolating it from the rest of the business. Also see the related IT Revolution Website.

Why IT Projects Go Wrong

Posted in General Overview,Programming by Ernie Schell on December 9, 2012

Thorin McGee writes in Target Marketing magazine: “When it’s time to implement new technologies, the focus needs to be on execution [and] internal communication….” Using the Romney campaign as his focus, McGee notes that “Ars Technica reported that the multiple vendors hired to develop ORCA [the campaign’s get-out-the-vote system] weren’t in communication [with each other] and didn’t see each other’s code until Election Day. Romney Digital Director Zac Moffat told CNET there wasn’t time for adequate beta and load testing. At one point, ORCA had so much data coming and going that the ISP mistook it for a DNS attack and shut it down.”

In short, they made every mistake in the book! Most of all, as the sheriff said in Cool Hand Luke, “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate!”

Software Development Failures Plague 36% of N. Amer. Enterprises

Posted in Development - General,General Overview,Programming by Ernie Schell on December 9, 2012

eWeek reports that “despite the availability of a wealth of development tools and agile methodologies, an alarming 36 percent of the 200 North American organizations surveyed in a recent study found defects in new releases that had gone into production, according to CA Technologies.”

To add insult to injury, “only 4 percent of those surveyed claimed that errors are never found in production releases. This means that many organizations are launching buggy applications to market and having to solve for them later with software updates and patches.”  To compound the problem, “applications are often released with reduced functionality, according to 70 percent of those surveyed,” according to the CA Tech study.

“North American businesses are under pressure to deliver increasingly complex applications, and at a much faster rate than ever before to keep pace with customer demands,” said Shridhar Mittal, general manager of service virtualization at CA. “Unfortunately, IT budgets are not increasing at the rate of change inherent in today’s highly distributed composite applications. This causes serious constraints to software development, resulting in delays and failures in delivering new software features to market.” Not surprisingly, Mittal suggests that service virtualization is an excellent “virtual environment for software application testing that cuts out constraints or barriers to delivery.”

Create, Assemble and Deploy – The Future of Application Development

Prashant Pawar, Delivery Manager, CORPADM, has a very interesting take on systems development (on the Infosys Website) as the “smart assembly” of industry standard components. Of course, the real challenges are (a) to be “smart” about it, and (b) to get any industry to agree on what its standards should be. Anyway, it’s a worthy goal.

Harvard’s Cybersymposium

Posted in General Overview,Programming by Ernie Schell on November 5, 2012

At Harvard Business School’s 18th annual Cyberposium on November 4, 2012, Mariah Levitt, senior usability specialist at Continuum, said candidly: “One of the most embarrassing things in the human factors and ergonomics field is that software products we use are so hard to use.”

See Comment No. 4.

It’s A Miracle Software Works This Well

Posted in Programming by Ernie Schell on September 18, 2012

Larry Seltzer, Editorial Director, Byte, makes some very apt observations about programming.

The Elusive Goal of Code Correctness

Posted in Programming by Ernie Schell on August 30, 2012

Andrew Binstock, Editor in Chief of Dr. Dobb’s Journal, writes in the Aug. 26, 2012 issue: “The longer I write code, the more I yearn for code correctness. Despite the work this extra step presents, commercial ventures. . . would do well to embrace it.” He concludes that “in the U.S., only a few industries (mostly embedded, automotive, and avionics) are interested in high levels of code correctness. It’s a topic that is dismissed as a luxury by mainstream programmers because it appears to interfere with the ability to deliver software quickly.”

Binstock’s brief article not only discusses specific coding languages and their ability to support “correctness,” but gets to the very heart of the topic of this entire Blogsite: The Trouble With Software. It is well worth a read.

What baseball can teach technologists about teamwork

Posted in Programming by Ernie Schell on April 15, 2012

Doug LeMoine writes in the Cooper Journal: “If you want to build great software, you can go it alone. You can design and build your product, make infrastructure decisions, manage releases, get the word out. Yet soon enough, if things are going well, you’ll start to get traction, you’ll want to scale, and your solo run will be over: You’re going to need to work with others. You’re going to need to create a team.”

The article gives some very pointed tips on how to go about doing this.

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