Going international 
Wednesday, July 6, 2005, 11:11 PM - Personal
I am very happy over the last three days I have had lots of visitors from all over the world. I hope the visits were worth the time. See statistics below


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Reality Bites: donít trust paper signs and business software 
Tuesday, July 5, 2005, 02:24 PM - Personal
I have recently been doing interviews for hiring software developers and software test engineers. Some of the interviewees were good professionals some not, however what amazed me is the lack of maturity in some of the organizations at which some of the candidates worked. Surprisingly enough these organizations were not small shops doing web sites for under 50$ per piece. I summarized the information I gathered in these interviews to make people aware of software reality.

The first shocking experience I had was during the second interview of a software engineer working at one of the major Bulgarian banks. They use software supplied by huge CMMI 5 certified Indian company, specialized in banking software. The Indian company had sent two engineers full time to support the system throughout the branches of the bank. As the engineer explained the guys were extremely helpful, friendly, knowledgeable and willing to help. She then started telling me that form time to time that the software will fail. Well I thought this is normal, it happens with all software. Then she told me how the issues get resolved. Basically she would call the Indian guys they would fix the software in couple of hours and put it as pilot in some of the bank branches. If it then runs ok for couple of days they install it in all branches. Then she started telling me about program improvements and changes and again repeated the deployment flow. She also added that it had happened sometimes that the program will fail in some of the branches and then it is really hectic process to repair the corrupted data. Was I shocked, in my 8 year experience in various companies none of them having any CMMI seal I had never seen such vivid demonstration of profanity and lack of responsibility. Not only were changes to the software made in an obviously uncontrolled manner, not only was validation and verification of any kind missing, but risk of failures was directly transferred to completely unaware end users having their savings at stake.

Few weeks later I interviewed software quality assurance engineer working for mid sized German company supplying reservation software to some of the biggest European airlines. The company at least in his words followed strictly Rational Unified Process. We had discussion on how long it takes to test particular project release and how he would estimate the effort needed to test particular project. To my amazement the QA expert told me that they release their software weekly with the changes that customers had asked for during the previous week and within one week or less they implement changes to functionality performed tests within a day and deployed the new version on Monday. He added that in several cases they had to rollback production servers during working hours as software failed. He then added that customers are pushing for quick releases and testing the application thoroughly would cost a lot. I were then thinking of all the frustrated people that lost their reservation data, missed a flight or in best case had to spend couple of days to make a simple reservation.

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