Bugs do matter…(unsurprisingly)

Welcome to 2018! How did that happen?

Thank you to everyone who attended last week’s webinar on “Measuring Software Quality“, and thank you for the positive feedback, it really does help us shape our future webinars/blogs.

During the talk, I discussed a suggestion by Sally Globe,  along the lines of “Bugs don’t matter”/”Perfect software is the enemy of rapid deployment” as long as you are “Not wrong long”, which came from an initial exchange on Twitter back last year:The caveat was this didn’t apply to safety-critical (which I think we definitely all agree with!). As I wasn’t at the talk, then some of the intent may be lost in translation.

However, as I see it, one of the major problems is that it assumes not only can we “fix it fast” (the goal of Continuous Delivery), which should be applauded (especially in these times of IoT and security vulnerabilities), but that someone notices before it is a major problem (think zero day vulnerabilities).

As a simple example; I happen to be a keen cyclist (yes a fully paid-up member of the MAMIL clan and #bloodycyclist). This week is the start of the 2018 cycling calendar with the Tour Down Under (TDU).  In 2018, the televised highlights in the UK are on a relatively new channel: FreeSports (Freeview/BT/TalkTalk 95, Sky 424 and FreeSat 252) as opposed to the usual EuroSportUK. Woohoo…(if that’s your bag of course)But guess what? Come 1AM, no cycling, so anyone who recorded it got one hour of random sport (none of it cycling), and then a further hour of the TDU. One minor problem, when the transmission ended there was still 59km to go, so no one saw the finish (usually pretty important)! Guess FreeSport’s excuse? software of course!

Okay, so not a major catastrophe in the big scheme of things, but if it was your project, would you be happy telling the powers-that-be “We weren’t wrong long”?

So the concept of “Not wrong long”; I guess it can work if:

  1. You can react quickly AND someone notices QUICKLY, or
  2. You have a monopoly, you say sorry and can blame the software, and
  3. You’re not controlling elements in the “real” world

I am a big fan of automation of the Test/Integration cycle using tools such a Jenkins and Docker (see previous posts). Assessing the potential for Continuous Delivery is a foundation of becoming more agile; but at the same time, we must always be wary of generalised and sweeping statements that have come from people not working in the embedded space.

Niall Cooling

Director at Feabhas Limited
Co-Founder and Director of Feabhas since 1995.
Niall has been designing and programming embedded systems for over 30 years. He has worked in different sectors, including aerospace, telecomms, government and banking.
His current interest lie in IoT Security and Agile for Embedded Systems.
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About Niall Cooling

Co-Founder and Director of Feabhas since 1995. Niall has been designing and programming embedded systems for over 30 years. He has worked in different sectors, including aerospace, telecomms, government and banking. His current interest lie in IoT Security and Agile for Embedded Systems.
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