Big budget blow-outs & the benefits of early failure

Sometimes figuring out what’s impossible is the hardest part.

We can all think of examples, even in our own backyards, of costly projects that failed to deliver on time, on budget – or even at all. For two contrasting examples, consider the fall of OnLive and the flaws of Future Combat Systems – from videogames to theatres of war, the impact of resource sharing is often insufficiently understood.

How do such epic failures happen in a world of expert consultants and experienced designers?
Because sometimes the impossible looks so possible. Challenges drive innovation, but sometimes what seems like the intuitive route to follow walks you off the edge of a cliff into a giant money pit. The science of network performance and understanding of the nuances of shared resources (be that scheduling on a processor, using an IP network or any number of other things) are relatively young fields that explore something that became swiftly ubiquitous and profitable. The use of shared resources drives our economies, our culture and our social lives – but much of the time there just isn’t the budget or the interest in understanding it in a rigorous scientific sense.

What can we do?
Good news! There are people out there doing just that, and saving time and money avoiding throwing effort after the impossible. Unfortunately the only way to access all that expertise and know-how is through consulting which, for many businesses, is just too expensive (especially on a project-by-project basis).

PEnDAR is an InnovateUK funded project looking into the feasibility of creating tools, which embody this existing network science, that can be integrated into companies’ procedures to enable organisations to make better (and better understood) choices about R&D and lifecycle management. As part of this project we are recruiting a focus group. For those with a SoS and V&V background the need for such tools will be clear and we would love your input if this is your field. We are also interested in talking with those in the distributed systems (of all sorts) arena where delivered performance is critical.

If you think you might be interested please visit the project website and sign up.

Guest blog provided by Lucy Hazell, Packet Flow Performance Analyst, PNSol

Lucy Hazell Packet Flow Performance Analyst PNSol