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daily 10/25/2013

    • A story doesn’t have to have a happy ending – it just has to have a satisfying ending.
    • Our main character has completed his quest, “cradled by two loving arms that I’ll die for” – what a fantastic line. And at the same time, you feel the terrible loss and destruction caused by one rash act fueled by desire. That’s how tragedy works, y’all.
    • And if you think hard about “El Paso,” a strict read, the narrator has to be dead from the beginning, unless you believe he’s narrating the song as it happens.
    • Campbell said, “We were quite optimistic that our portion of the system would work when the system went live.” That is either a lie or a revelation of ghastly incompetence, because no competent programmer or manager would ever display a shred of optimism until full end-to-end testing had been done
    • Campbell said, “There were use-cases and things of that sort,” evidently unfamiliar with what specifications are (hint: not use-cases). Slavitt said, “We believe we received appropriate specifications.”
    • This is dismal not least because this is exactly where a good manager would know how to save face: by saying the specifications were bad in spite of your best efforts.
    • A competent buck-passer would say that the performance guidelines in the specifications had proved inaccurate, or that she had warned the government that she could not meet the guidelines.
    • Slavitt’s worst facepalm, meanwhile, was when he defended the security of the data hub by saying, “Our systems don’t hold data. They just transport data through it.” Mike Rogers, R-Mich., immediately jumped on this: “You don’t have to hold it to protect it.”
    • . Her agenda is not to make healthcare.gov work, but to protect CGI Federal.
    • By sending people so ignorant of specifications, process, and technology to represent their work at a government hearing, CGI and QSSI displayed contempt for the crucially important job they were tasked with. Campbell, Slavitt, and those like them should be immediately removed from the healthcare.gov project. They are bugs.
    • Campbell and Slavitt, a senior vice president and an executive vice president, respectively, are not techies; they are not project managers. Their expertise is in extracting as much money as possible from the government in procurement contracts, and judging by the numbers, they are very good at it.
    • But if you place these kinds of managers on the critical communication chain of a software project, you immediately endanger its success.
    • Project quality is sacrificed for the sake of appearances—meeting the letter of the contract with indifference toward the actual practical outcome.
    • Campbell and Slavitt made many gaffes that would ensure that any programmer with common sense would never work under them. Let me debug their testimony a bit.
    • In other words, it was “ready,” but it wasn’t ready—because Slavitt is defining “readiness” not in terms of the product actually working, but in terms of meeting contract demands.
    • , the Pre-Operational Readiness Review in their contracts “required end-to-end testing results.”
    • “We have not been the systems integrator and we have never been the systems integrator.” Campbell saying it doesn’t make it so—CGI clearly was in charge of integration.
    • Let me explain how end-to-end testing works in integrating large systems owned by multiple vendors
    • Each vendor works out detailed specifications for how the systems should interact. These are made as clear as possible so that when something goes wrong—and it always does—you can point to the spec and say, “You weren’t supposed to do that and that’s why our component appeared to misbehave.” In order to meet the specs, each vendor simulates end-to-end testing by building a prototype of the larger system.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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