Re: “Software tracks students — and defies doubters,” Jan. 20.
Your article on School District 63’s software development effort is interesting and I wish them success, but note that they are not through real-world testing yet. The botch in the B.C. government’s child-welfare case system sounds like failure to involve users early and do realistic testing.
If development is not properly done, there will be problems found in real use, and lifetime will be short due to difficulty making changes. While the B.C. government wants proven suppliers, news reports are scathing about the performance of established companies like Accenture, HP and IBM on some projects for governments. Past performance means nothing if current management is bad. Talk is cheap in proposals, so contracts should include guarantees and remedies.
Solid support for the software is important — “open source” does not necessarily provide that because community development may be disorganized and spotty. Backup host sites are essential.
Of course, quality of the project people, quality of leadership and ability to fund appropriately instead of cheaping are key factors enabling success. Bureaucracies do not have quality.
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