Friday, June 26, 2009

Software development isn’t the only thing to suck

Intro to the Boeing Dreamliner story:
Boeing Dreamliner - 2 years late and a lot of excuses (via
  • blaming a shortage of fasteners as well as incomplete software
  • cited problems with its foreign and domestic supply chain for the delay, especially the ongoing fastener shortage, the lack of documentation from overseas suppliers, and continuing delays with the flight guidance software
  • said that insufficient progress had been made on the factory floor to complete work that was originally planned to be carried out by suppliers
  • unforeseen delays
  • another delay, this time caused by the incorrect installation of some of the structurally important fasteners
  • will face additional delivery delays of up to six months, because Boeing is not expected to reach its target production rate
  • stating that the first flight is postponed "due to a need to reinforce an area within the side-of-body section of the aircraft"
Sound familiar? I’m no critic and don’t have any airplane building experience (outside of models), but it’s sort of nice to hear that industries other then IT/software have their problems too. So, the mighty engineers aren’t so mighty after all and the giants of efficiency and getting things done also fail. It’s like dancing on someone else’s grave…but, let’s get the dance over and see if there are any lessons here.

To many new things:
new technology (carbon fiber) + new process (offshore’ing the work) + new relationships (either new offshore companies or at least new types of interactions with them) = trouble.
To many new factors to properly control. Maybe the offshore activities should have been tried with existing manufacturing and any new R&D type of product first needs to be developed onshore with known/skilled resources.

If you’re drinking a gallon of coffee don’t blame the dog barking for lack of sleep:
Fasteners, fasteners, fasteners – seems to be a recurring theme (at least on the face of it). If the same issue keeps arising, make sure it’s the root-cause issue and then attack it. In the IT world you often hear about Quality issues or integration issues and then management focusing on hardware (or whatever they’re comfortable discussing) to correct it….find the real problem, doesn’t matter if its within your comfort zone, and deal with it.

Most of the times, you don’t need a crystal ball:
If you’re having problems throughout the entire project, don’t wait until the end to tell the users that their expectations are not going to be met. Fewer features, lower quality, slower performance or whatever the impacts are from a problematic project need to be clearly communicated out to the sponsors and clients as soon as possible – but not before the confidence in being able to deliver to the new date and expectations level are set.

1 comment:

  1. The development of the IT sector especially in the countries such as India and China has gone a long way in changing the face of these countries. The rise of the middle class, the interest that the foreign market is showing in these countries, and the overall development of the economies of these countries can be massively owed to the growth and flourish of the IT sector.