Mission Critical - an object lesson

Ian White Profile PicSome of you may have noticed that you have not been able to post any comments to the blogs for the last 24 hours or so. The bloggers have also been in the same boat (that’s the one without a paddle).

All of this comes on the back of an ‘upgrade’ to ease the problems associated with the current version of the blogging platform used across the Reed Business Information titles here in the UK (and elsewhere for all I know). For months all of us have been dealing with instability, poor performance and a general lack of facility mainly due the old system was about 3 full releases behind the latest supported release. The first tentative upgrade was scheduled for the 14th April and the upgrade has been on and off since then.

You can guess what has happened, Computer Weekly (and the rest of the titles) has experienced the sort of ‘gremlins’ that we in the real world of organisational computing face on almost daily basis. It was not for a lack of planning, there appears to have been a lot of that. It was not for the lack of testing, that too was extensively undertaken. As my fellow blogger Michael Pincher loves to say ‘it was due to the law of unintended consequences’.

It is working now otherwise you would not be able to read this. I know it has been very embarrassing for them although the problems do not represent the end of the universe. It is however it is a salutatory lesson for the professional journalists who must have got very frustrated over the last few hours because of the service failure. They now know first hand the knife edge that afflict so many systems in the ‘real world’. In future they might take a few more thought cycles before taking a ‘pop’ at some new IT disaster.