Sympathy for the devil (software glitch)

GhostMachin

Please allow me to introduce myself, I am a glitch of wealth and taste. I’ve been around for a long, long year, stole many a software architects soul and faith. I was around when the Architect had his moment of doubt and pain. Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name. But what’s puzzling you is the nature of my game.

Perhaps there is something more sinister at work here, with all the headlines on software glitches and problems, maybe there really are ghosts in the machines.

I rode a tank, held a generals rank

The software glitch is large and in change, it creeps in and disrupts your plans and intentions. Most people really want to design and build software systems and web sites that will provide an outstanding user experience. However there are too many demands and temptations to keep to the schedule even when there is ample evidence that it is not going to work.

I laid traps for troubadours, who get killed before they reached Bombay

There are so many components involved in large scale enterprise systems, the glitch is laying in wait at every corner, at every hand-off. Often times, it is hard see while you are building the system. However, you can feel it coming, you can feel its cold breath on your neck, when you turnaround, no one is there.

You check in your code, hoping the build cycle will keep your code safe and keep the glitch out. As the system gets larger and more complex, you feel that something isn’t quit right. As the release date grows nearer, you stay later, work later, working into the night. The code is finally sent to the QA team for testing.

Just as every cop is a criminal, and all the sinners saints

The QA team moves through their test plans, they find minor things that are not working.  These issues go back for fixes and are then retested. Nearing the end of the testing cycle, several of the team members report errors, that can’t be reproduced. The function failed, then succeeded. This is the first sign that a ghost is in the machine. The team dismisses this inconsistency, and they continue.  They pass the new Release. They kept to the schedule, they didn’t do all the testing they had planned. They didn’t have time for a performance test.

So, if you meet me, have some courtesy, have some sympathy and some taste.

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