What would you do?

7. You are a senior software development consultant with a major consulting firm. You have been asked to conduct a follow-up assessment of the software development process for ABCXYZ Corporation, a company for which you had performed an initial assessment using CMMI two years prior. At the initial assessment, you determined the company’s level of maturity to be level 2. Since that assessment, the organization has spent a lot of time and effort following your recommendations to raise its level of process maturity. The organization appointed a senior member of its IT staff to be a process management guru and paid him $150,000 per year to lead the improvement effort. This senior member adopted a methodology for standard software development and required all project managers to go through a one-week training course at a total cost of more than $2 million.

 Unfortunately, these efforts did not significantly improve process maturity because senior management failed to hold project managers accountable for actually using the standard development methodology in their projects. Too many project managers convinced senior management that the new methodology was not necessary for their particular project and would just slow things down. You are concerned that when senior management learns that no real progress has been made, they will refuse to accept partial blame for the failure and instead drop all attempts at further improvement. You are also likely to lose your contract with the firm. What would you do?

I would explain to the upper management exactly where the short comings occurred. I would have documented each step of the development process and where the managers hindered the development process.  


8. You are the CEO for a small, struggling software firm that produces educational software for high school students. Your latest software is designed to help students improve their SAT and ACT scores. To prove the value of your software, a group of 50 students who had taken the ACT test were retested after using your software for just two weeks. Unfortunately, there was no dramatic increase in their scores. A statistician you hired to ensure objectivity in measuring the results claimed that the variation in test scores was statistically insignificant. You had been counting on touting the results in the promotion of your new software.

A small core group of educators and systems analysts will need at least six months to start again from scratch to design a viable product. Programming and testing could take another six months. Another option would be to go ahead and release the current version of the product and then, when the new product is ready, announce it as a new release. This would generate the cash flow necessary to keep your company afloat and save the jobs of 10 or more of your 15 employees. Given this information about your company’s product, what would you do?

In this situation, I would agree that the process needs to be restarted and allow the developers to continue. In the future, I would require all members of the team to have the steps they plan to take approved prior to implementation to insure the project is completed.





1. InterSystems Earns ISO 9001-2008 Certification

1. A mission-critical system is one whose failure will result in an organization being unable to continue business operations. A safety-critical system is one whose failure will result in human injury or loss of life. Is the John Hopkins system described above mission critical or safety critical? Why? Can you give an example of a safety-critical system that is not mission critical?

I would classify the system as safety critical because if this system were to fail, it could result in the loss of life. A system that is safety critical and not mission critical could be described as the traffic lights system. If the traffic lights malfunction, it could result in injury or the loss of life in the event of an accident. Even if the traffic lights malfunction, vehicles are still able to traverse the road.

2. Caché and its associated application tools constitute a system that is used to build a wide variety of information systems for customers around the world. Do you think that the Caché software and tools should be considered a safety-critical system and undergo the rigorous development process associated with such systems? If so, what would be the implications for InterSystems and its customers in terms of costs and frequency of software modifications and updates? Would this put InterSystems at a competitive disadvantage to other software development companies?

I feel they should undergo the same testing as the other software to ensure the highest level of quality in the final product. Even if there is an increase in the cost of development, it would provide for a better final product, the company will have more of an advantage by having a superior final product.

3. Should every organization that builds safety-critical systems be required to have all its system development processes and tools ISO-9000: 2008 certified? Why or why not?

Yes, all companies should implement this system for added protection to prevent failures in the development.



2. Apple Guidelines for App Approval

1. Should Apple conduct extensive screening of apps before they are allowed to be sold on the App Store? Why or why not?

Yes, Apple should screen apps to protect their users. If Apple is giving their customers the impression that they are safe behind their walled garden, they need to vet the applications in their store to protect their users.

2. Do research to determine the current status of the FCC investigation of Apple for banning use of the Adobe Flash software on devices that use the iOS operating system.

The ban on Adobe Flash is still in effect and prohibited on all Apple devices.

3. What do you think of Apple’s guideline that says it will reject an app for any content or behavior that they believe is “over the line”? Could such a statement be construed as a violation of the developer’s freedom of speech? Why or why not?

I agree with Apples stance on the rejecting content they see as “over-the-line.” Their users expect a level of quality and pay a premium for their services. I feel these products are non-exclusive, if the user does not like the way Apple chooses to run their app store, don’t use it.