How far would you come driving blindfolded?

Feb 4, 2013 | CIO Knowledge

Let’s assume you want to drive 865 km from Munich to Wilhelmshaven at the North Sea by car. You take a look at the route on a map, you tank up your car, you sit yourself behind the wheel and blindfold yourself before you start driving. How far would you get?

Software projects compared to driving a car blindfolded

Certainly not very far. Anyone who wants to arrive savely with a car at their destination must consider a lot:

  • Do I drive in the right direction?
  • Do I drive too fast?
  • Do I respect the traffic rules?
  • What is the distance to the car in front of me?
  • Do I have enough gas in the tank to make it to my destination?
  • Damn it, someone took my right of way and I have to brake quickly.
  • Hold on, there is a construction site and I have to take a detour.

Okay, driving blindfolded is perhaps an extreme example. Let’s say, with the same preparation, you start and cover your dashboard and turn off your navigation device. How many speeding tickets for driving too fast would you get? How much longer would it take to arrive at Wilhelmshaven, because you get lost or you are stuck on the highway because you have misjudged your gas mileage?

An early warning system for software development projects

Unbelievable but true: It is this approach we constantly experience in software development projects. Of course, software development projects are usually well planned and a proper project management is used. But just like driving a car, there are always unforeseen circumstances which make it necessary to revise a plan and adapt.

But here lies the difficulty: If I do not carefully observe the events and act quickly, it is too late and I hit the car in front of me. Such an accident costs at least time and money and in the worst case could lead to long-term complications. For this reason, the automotive industry developed early warning systems, e.g. to monitor the distance to the vehicle ahead and warn the driver. SeereneTM is such an early warning system for software development projects.

Approaching Deadlines often lead to weak software

In order to develop software that works stable, meets all the requirements and can be maintained and extended efficiently, it takes conception, a thorough planning and a flawless coding. In other words, it takes time and intelligence.

But the closer you get to the deadline and the more the appreciation of the developer team is measured by meeting this deadline, the more likely it is that workers try to achieve the technical requirements by working quick and dirty. This results in software applications which

  • are error-prone,
  • can only be understood with difficulty from a third party,
  • can be difficult to extend,
  • may not be scalable.

Similar to a breakdown on the highway, the consequences of such programming become visible when it is too late. This is where seereneTM comes into play. SeereneTM not only analyses the source code with its programming structures, but it also analyzes how many developers worked on one code segment and how much was changed.

The results of the software code analysis are visualized as a city map, to see at a glance the hot spots to address. With this analysis seereneTM makes it easy to spot risks in the source code very quickly, so that, like when driving a car, the course can be corrected and you achieve your goal with your software projects savely and in time.

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