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Check That: How a List Can Save Your Life

Human error is the greatest cause of software project problems and every software project is an exercise in managing complexity. What can we learn from successes in other fields to better manage complexity in our own projects?

Complexity arises in a number of professions, including surgery, aircraft flight, and construction. The first test flight of the Boeing B-17 “Flying Fortress” in the 1930s resulted in disaster. The highly-experienced pilot had made a simple error, forgetting to release the plane’s flaps before take-off, resulting in the death of two crew members. The B-17 was the most complex aeroplane yet developed, and the disaster occurred because the pre-flight procedure had too many steps to remember. Boeing, in conjunction with the US Air Force, investigated the crash and determined a deceptively simple solution: a checklist. Other professions caught on to this idea, and checklists are now used daily in surgery and construction to save lives.

In this talk, we’ll explore how to find and manage complexity effectively in software with our own checklists.

May 15 @ 13:20
13:20 — 13:50 (30′)

Alastair Smith

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