you think you test in prod, but do you test in prod like Boeing used to?
"The 777 was Boeing’s first “fly-by-wire” plane... due to the criticality of the software, Boeing decided to put all the heads of software engineering on the test flight. "
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My first exposure to this was a story told to me by Gail Murphy, then my
professor in a third-year software engineering course, about the production of
the Boeing 787’s predecessor, the 777. The 777 was Boeing’s first “fly-by-wire”
plane. In other words, the software had to work, as it was purely software that
was controlling the flaps and rudder and preventing the plane from falling out
of the sky. Gail recounted that, due to the criticality of the software, Boeing
decided to put all the heads of software engineering on the test flight. During
the test flight, the plane started shaking, and the software engineers were able
to implement a midflight fix via the turbulence control software.1? I have yet to
find a better example of an organization putting software leaders’ skin in the
game of high-stakes product development.
The depth of Boeing’s understanding of the business implications of
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