Do You Have an Emergency Contingency Plan?
I came across a fascinating, if frightening, story on LinkedIn that looked at the dangers of airlines running software on legacy code.
For the uninitiated, legacy code is the term given to original software code underlying a system. It’s usually of some vintage and in many cases the original coders are long gone. But it’s typically good sturdy code, revised and strengthened over time.
The problem is these systems are tied to underlying code and programming languages that are usually relics of another era. COBOL, for example, was a common coding language in the internet’s infancy but practitioners of it are hard to find today.
It’s a great article. But what made me sit up and take notice was an example of airlines and the emergency system plans in place for an outage or emergency.
Simply put, most airline booking systems didn’t have one and in the three scenarios noted in the article all three paid the price for not having a contingency plan in place.
In the project management field, having contingency plans in place is absolutely essential. Can a contingency plan prevent an outage? No, but it can mean the difference between a long system outage and an extremely short one. And that time can be measured in dollars, cents and customer frustration.
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