VSJ – February 2009 – Sounding Board

Lawrie Holtby, FIAP responds to David Morgan’s article in last October’s VSJ on the problems associated with ad hoc software development.

I’ve just read David Morgan’s very interesting article in VSJ, which immediately struck a chord!

During my 24+ years in IT Development in a variety of roles, I’ve encountered the same sort of issues with prototype systems that become production systems without any real thought to the implications!

During my time with a major transport company as Analyst/Application Specialist I repeatedly encountered MS Access databases that had been written by enthusiastic users (with differing abilities!) and were now embedded in the business. One case in point was an Access2 system used to manage international traffic at a time when there were around six journeys each week and a single user. The business had since grown to over 100 journeys each week with 20 users spread over 3 sites nationally with WAN communication. The system was, to say the least, flaky, and I managed to up size the database to SQL Server to, at least, give it some measure of robustness.

As David says, the business managers need to understand the difference between prototypes and production systems.

[Something you’d like to get off your chest? Email me (Robin Jones) at eo@iap.org.uk.]

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