Software Failure Essay

2031 words - 9 pages

Question 1.1: Software in the Information Society

1. See if you can discern any trends. Explain with evidence any trends that you discover.

Software is everywhere around us today and it had evolved over time to make our jobs simpler and easier. Over the last decade there had been a surge in the number of software projects to meet the increased demands. A research company call CompTIA released a statement in 2013 predicting the growth of IT professionals in the United States will increase by 22% by 2020, this illustrates the demands for software are high and rising.

We have witnessed some immense changes in the industry ever since the “The Software Crisis” (1965-1985) where many problems ...view middle of the document...

• UK Inland Revenue
o Software errors.
Failure probably due to lack of testing because of inadequate requirements

• London Stock Exchange project
o Delusional management;
o Excessively complex design
o Deadlines missed
o Rising costs
o Poor project management
This was one big complex project, and it had numerous problems. The accumulation of these problems lead to its downfall.

If we look at the banking sector, the majority of transactions today are completed using EFTPOS/ online banking as we are moving into a cashless society. It is crucial this process works smoothly. But time and time again it fails us. In New Zealand 2012, a software hiccup meant that customers of TSB Bank were offered unlimited overdrafts at ATMs. On Boxing Day 2013, a Vodafone glitch shut down EFTPOS for hours, on the busiest shopping day of the year. Just a quick search online and there will be numerous headlines surrounding banking glitches; “Banks' payment failures expose the fragile complexity of our digital world”. Software for these systems are very complex and they have to be constantly updated. With constant updates the exposure to risk is increased. All parts of the system have to run collectively for it function smoothly, so a small bug can cause the whole system to malfunction.

Another example is cars; they are now full of automation and experts in the field expect in another ten or twenty years our cars will 100% automatic, driven by software programs. Over the recent years Toyota had to make numerous recalls due to software failure. The most recent recall on 12 February 2014 is due to a programming error that can potentially shut down the gas-electric hybrid systems. This is a concern because the cars’ software also control some of the car's most critical functions. The recall underlines the growing complexity of today’s vehicles, which are increasingly loaded with technology and electronic systems, leaving them more susceptible to problems. If we look back at twenty years ago, there were no such thing as software glitches in cars. Could this be at a result of rapidly evolving world in technology?

Even though software failures are a regular occurrence, it is obvious it is not going to slow down anytime soon. As software projects are getting bigger and bigger in size, they become more complex, involving more risk. Thus if not planned out well it can end in catastrophic failure; with business’ lining up to file for bankruptcy. The problem of software failure has around since the early days of the computing revolution and will always be with us in the future. The hope is that with time, software developers become more informed and prevent these failures in the future. In short, no one is immune from software failure.

2. Discuss whether or not the failure of software is getting worse or better. Provide appropriate evidence from the literature.

A 2010 KPMG survey of Project Management practices in New Zealand found some truly startling results; a survey...

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