Boeing 737 Max & Software Design

Boeing 737 Max & Software Design 150 150 CloudGovCo

It was announced this week that the #Boeing737Max will remain grounded to at least mid-summer 2020, as new defects are found. We have to wonder if a large scale #DevOps culture and a lack of robust software architecture is part of the problem. Of course, the origin of all this is a bad hardware design for the plane, which made it dynamically unstable and they tried to fix this with a software patch.

The latest is a new software bug preventing the dual flight computers from communicating properly. At least this is not an explicit safety issue because the plane cannot even move without the flight computers. Of course, a dual node design is inherently unsafe but that is another discussion. Ok, well, as a submarine commander who wore three watches once told me, “A man with one watch does not know the correct time. A man with two is confused. A man with three watches has a chance that two will agree.”

The reason I wonder about the software #Agile culture is that adding a second compute node shouldn’t bottle the system. This is beyond comprehension. Also, the Starliner space launch in December 2019 failed to reach orbit because the elapsed timing system software had an error in it.