Software failure, everywhere. Where’s the testing?



It’s time for another roundup of software failure that shows why the world needs more Service Virtualization. Enjoy these examples of what happens when you don’t test early and often while developing the apps that support your business.

Glitches plague administration of standardized testing in Georgia

Kids and their teachers worked hard to get ready for state exams, but when testing day came, the state’s IT system let them all down.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution opinion writer Maureen Downey was none too happy about the failure of the Georgia Milestones online administration. She noted that the system had problems for the second straight year, causing students to restart tests five or 10 times. Wrote Downey:

“When you attach high-stakes to the Georgia Milestones — retention in middle and elementary schools, 20 percent of high school grades and teacher/school ratings — you must get it right. You cannot saddle students with the additional stress of failing technology when they take critical tests.

… I talked to several teachers who told me this round of testing was the most stressful in their careers because both parents and students were upset over all the retakes and the inability to resolve the computer problems quickly. And the IT people in affected systems apparently aged a decade trying to fix the issues.”

Here are two words for IT officials with the Georgia state education department: Service Virtualization. Look into it. Maybe next year will go better.

VW delayed in fixing emission problems due to — you guessed it — glitchy software

Volkswagen said this week that it will delay the recall of Passat and Skoda cars in Europe because software patches that were supposed to remedy emission violations were not quite ready for prime time.

“We have to go back to work on the software again,” said a company spokesman.

The German automaker has had to recall about 2.5 million vehicles in Germany after admittin git used software to cheat emission testing.

Another problem for F-35 program

The most advanced airplane in world history is again crippled by a software problem. According to an Arizona TV station, a recent update to the F-35 radar system created a glitch that left the Joint Strike Fighter with software stability and radar problems.

Glitchy radar is not what you want at mach-2. U.S. Sen. John McCain went off during a Senate Armed Forces Committee hearing: “The F-35’s programs of record of performance have been both a scandal and a tragedy in respect to cost schedule and performance.”

Unfortunately, the U.S. government has a pattern of failure in technology endeavors. Look no further than the implementation of Obamacare.

Such incidents are not difficult to find, for example …

TSA system malfunction causes nationwide security delays

The ubiquitous-and-undefined “computer system malfunction” at the Department of Homeland Security delayed travelers from coast to coast recently. Some reports indicated the problem affected access to the TSA terrorism watch list.

According to ABC News, TSA officials said the outage “prevented passengers and airlines from printing out boarding passes.” A spokeswoman said the glitch forced airlines to issue hand-written boarding passes.

Connecticut continues its epic struggle against DMV gremlins

We’ve reported previously about the DMV problems in Connecticut. The state decided on a systemwide upgrade to speed things up for residents, but the implementation has been an unmitigated disaster.

Hartford TV station WTNH reported on another complete system shutdown that caused long lines across the state.

“I’ve been sitting here since 8 o’clock this morning, and I’m still here waiting to get my paperwork done for my vehicle,” said one resident. “This so-called million-dollar system they have … it doesn’t work. They should have a backup system or something.”

Or … the state could instruct its vendors to test, test, test before interrupting official business with untested software.