Monday, 6 June 2011




Software Failures List



Ø  Software problems in the automated baggage sorting system of a major airport in February 2008 prevented thousands of passengers from checking baggage for their flights. It was reported that the breakdown occurred during a software upgrade, despite pre-testing of the software. The system continued to have problems in subsequent months.

Ø  News reports in December of 2007 indicated that significant software problems were continuing to occur in a new ERP payroll system for a large urban school system. It was believed that more than one third of employees had received incorrect paychecks at various times since the new system went live the preceding January, resulting in overpayments of $53 million, as well as underpayments. An employees' union brought a lawsuit against the school system, the cost of the ERP system was expected to rise by 40%, and the non-payroll part of the ERP system was delayed. Inadequate testing reportedly contributed to the problems.

Ø  In November of 2007 a regional government reportedly brought a multi-million dollar lawsuit against a software services vendor, claiming that the vendor 'minimized quality' in delivering software for a large criminal justice information system and the system did not meet requirements. The vendor also sued its subcontractor on the project.


Ø  In June of 2007 news reports claimed that software flaws in a popular online stock-picking contest could be used to gain an unfair advantage in pursuit of the game's large cash prizes. Outside investigators were called in and in July the contest winner was announced. Reportedly the winner had previously been in 6th place, indicating that the top 5 contestants may have been disqualified.

Ø  A software problem contributed to a rail car fire in a major underground metro system in April of 2007 according to newspaper accounts. The software reportedly failed to perform as expected in detecting and preventing excess power usage in equipment on a new passenger rail car, resulting in overheating and fire in the rail car, and evacuation and shutdown of part of the system.

Ø  Tens of thousands of medical devices were recalled in March of 2007 to correct a software bug. According to news reports, the software would not reliably indicate when available power to the device was too low.

Ø  A September 2006 news report indicated problems with software utilized in a state government's primary election, resulting in periodic unexpected rebooting of voter “checkin” machines, which were separate from the electronic voting machines, and resulted in confusion and delays at voting sites. The problem was reportedly due to insufficient testing.

Ø  In August of 2006 a U.S. government student loan service erroneously made public the personal data of as many as 21,000 borrowers on its web site, due to a software error. The bug was fixed and the government department subsequently offered to arrange for free credit monitoring services for those affected.

Ø  A software error reportedly resulted in overbilling of up to several thousand dollars to each of 11,000 customers of a major telecommunications company in June of 2006. It was reported that the software bug was fixed within days, but that correcting the billing errors would take much longer.

Ø  News reports in May of 2006 described a multi-million dollar lawsuit settlement paid by a healthcare software vendor to one of its customers. It was reported that the customer claimed there were problems with the software they had contracted for, including poor integration of software modules, and problems that resulted in missing or incorrect data used by medical personnel.

Ø  In early 2006 problems in a government's financial monitoring software resulted in incorrect election candidate financial reports being made available to the public. The government's election finance reporting web site had to be shut down until the software was repaired.

Ø  Trading on a major Asian stock exchange was brought to a halt in November of 2005, reportedly due to an error in a system software upgrade. The problem was rectified and trading resumed later the same day.

Ø  A May 2005 newspaper article reported that a major hybrid car manufacturer had to install a software fix on 20,000 vehicles due to problems with invalid engine warning lights and occasional stalling. In the article, an automotive software specialist indicated that the automobile industry spends $2 billion to $3 billion per year fixing software problems.

Ø  Media reports in January of 2005 detailed severe problems with a $170 million high-profile U.S. government IT systems project. Software testing was one of the five major problem areas according to a report of the commission reviewing the project. In March of 2005 it was decided to scrap the entire project.

Thanks to sereferences…



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