Both systems are similar in the sense that the failure of the software has lead to disastrous consequences. The LAS system could not function properly with the increase in call levels and that the functionality was unreliable. As a whole the quality of the system generally lacked experience. Both systems had large amounts of code errors in their code. This identifies that general testing was not conducted and that the software houses were not experienced enough.
They also declined to use the development process breakdowns, which would have ensured them a correct development process. In contrast the LAS were given basic training on how to use the system, but they were not given enough to the extent that would be required. The Ariane 5 project on the other hand didn’t produce training as they presumed that the system was similar and no need for training. Project Management The Project Management Team of LAS based themselves on the Prince Project Management Methodology.
They didn’t have any experience applying this methodology and it was not applied in a structured way through most of the project. One example of this would be that they didn’t ask the potential users they opinions or there views. The Ariane 5 management was centred on the review process and the validation of the software design decisions from Ariane 4. This process, which included software modifications and testing decisions, was not conducted in the right sense and manor. It seemed to be done just for the sake of it instead of being used to achieve correct software.
(Question 3) Using your arguments in (1) and (2), provide concluding remarks as to how a large software system should be developed in general to minimise software failures. There are many ways in which you may minimise software failures and from the knowledge of how these systems failed these are the key areas of fault and my recommendations. The London Ambulance Service case study illustrated how a key group of individuals were marginalised throughout the analysis and design phase with the effect that they made little contribution to the shape of the final system.
It would be advisable to include the users for them to make suggestions and contributions and also allow them to understand what kind of changes will be imposed with a new computerised system. The organisation would feel they would be part of the process if they too conducted a feasibility study, which would give them a basic knowledge of what the system would provide. Once a project begins to miss milestones or deadlines repeatedly, alarm bells should start to ring in the heads of those responsible for the development.
To allow completion of deadlines you must keep to a tight schedule and have weekly briefings on the work done so far. A well designed and correctly implemented testing regime is perhaps the best ally management can have in ensuring that a system performs as expected. Testing of hardware is also very important as you must test it as a whole to see if it has the right specifications and if it can handle the extend of the information.
A good training program must be provided to all staff using the system and the designers must realise that their users are not as technically minded as they are. The project managers must ensure that once project deadlines begin to slip, pre-implementation activities, such as training need to move to accommodate the changes. One of the main factors that runs in common is that management are not aware of what is going on in the IS developments. To avoid this management need to keep in touch with the problems and issues concerning those working on the front line of the development.