NASA faults Boeing for critical software bugs in Starliner craft

Hanno Labuschagne

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Sep 2, 2019
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NASA faults Boeing for critical software bugs in Starliner craft

NASA is reviewing Boeing Co.’s software engineering, and it doesn’t like what it sees.

Lurking behind 1 million lines of code for Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft lies a deficient development process that led to two software flaws during a failed test flight, the U.S. space agency said Friday.

The “critical software defects” -- either of which could have caused the uncrewed Starliner’s destruction -- prompted NASA to open a broad review of Boeing’s quality control.

[Bloomberg]
 

damian24

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2005
Messages
816
Eish, the cost of cost cutting ... , eina!

Pretty much, a Boeing engineer was talking about executives saying that aircraft software was mature and no longer required senior engineers developing it, so they shipped development off to India - result quality problems...

Not knocking Indian software dev, but when you have the software equivalent of a sweat shop building software for aircraft they've never seen the inside of, let alone an understanding of the avionics, you have a right royal recipe for disaster.

For reference, prior to execs getting involved, aircraft engineers would develop the software and they instinctively knew what to check for. One of the 'fathers' of Agile methodology, Robert Martin (uncle Bob if you've ever attended a seminar) had quite a lot to say about Agile workflows being something that demands an experienced skill (viz. one not needing to be actively monitored and that could be trusted to do the job right).

We're a far cry from that ideal in the make-it-happen-yesterday world we've created for ourselves.

D
 

Nestle

Active Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2020
Messages
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I think the time has come for Boeing to consider closing store. Time have changed and it seems the company has very little capabilities to adapt and grow with the times. Their technology of late seems to be lacking and planes are becoming more dangerous to fly in.
 

garyc

Expert Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2010
Messages
2,999
Pretty much, a Boeing engineer was talking about executives saying that aircraft software was mature and no longer required senior engineers developing it, so they shipped development off to India - result quality problems...

Not knocking Indian software dev, but when you have the software equivalent of a sweat shop building software for aircraft they've never seen the inside of, let alone an understanding of the avionics, you have a right royal recipe for disaster.

For reference, prior to execs getting involved, aircraft engineers would develop the software and they instinctively knew what to check for. One of the 'fathers' of Agile methodology, Robert Martin (uncle Bob if you've ever attended a seminar) had quite a lot to say about Agile workflows being something that demands an experienced skill (viz. one not needing to be actively monitored and that could be trusted to do the job right).

We're a far cry from that ideal in the make-it-happen-yesterday world we've created for ourselves.

D
When Boeing merged with McDonnell Douglas in 1997 it was the MD executives who took power in the combined company. The MD management had traditionally not been concerned with technical issues, rather preferring to ignore them in favor of the important stuff.

Up to that point the company headquarters had been in Seattle, together with the factory. It did not take the new management long to move the headquarters to Chicago, leaving the technical facilities behind. The reason they gave was "a location central to our operating units, customers and the financial community -- but separate from our existing operations". It looks like they were deliberately separating themselves from the engineering issues.

With this culture in place it may be difficult to fix what have now become endemic problems.
 
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