Software Engineering

Topics: Requirements analysis, Software engineering, Software Requirements Specification Pages: 17 (3974 words) Published: March 24, 2013



The goal of this paper is to analyze about three major software projects namely

• The London Ambulance System

• The Virtual Case File

• The Automatic Baggage System

By analyzing these software projects and the software engineering principles followed, the key factors responsible for the software projects failure can be understood. Each of these projects has failed miserable as they didn’t follow proper software engineering principles. In this term paper the following projects have been studied and reason for their failures are identified. Finally there is a comparison off all the three software projects studied.

The methodology followed in writing this term paper is reading the following reference materials available in the internet and extracting the key points for the failures of the software projects. The papers referenced for writing the following term paper are

1. H. Goldstein. Who Killed the Virtual Case File? IEEE Spectrum, Sept. 2005, pp. 24–35.

2. Statement of Glenn A. Fine, Inspector General, US Dept. of Justice, 27 July 2005.

3. A. Finkelstein and J. Dowell. A Comedy of Errors: the London Ambulance Service Case Study.

4. Report of the Inquiry into the London Ambulance Service (February 1993), by A. Finkelstein,

5. Richard de Neufville. “The Baggage System at Denver: Prospects and Lessons,” Journal of Air

6. Barry Shore. “Systematic Biases and Culture in Project Failures,” Project Management Journal


The conclusion after studying these three papers, for any software projects the good principles of software engineering should be followed.

• The software development process should be properly planned with achievable and realistic deadlines. All the three projects had poor planning with unrealistic deadlines.

• Great importance should be given to the requirements gathering phase and it should not be changed during the middle of the development

• Developers should develop the projects with proper coding standards so that there is no issue during the integration of different modules.

• Time critical projects should require critical and solid reasoning as well as good anticipation of problems and perform risk management.

• The schedule of the software projects should have good portion of time in testing the software product developed.

• Finally, as far as possible keep the complexity of the system to manageable levels and tested effectively.


In October 1992 the Computer Aided Despatch (CAD) system developed by Systems Options was deployed for the London Ambulance System (LAS). The goal of the software system was to automate the process of the ambulance service for the London Ambulance System (LAS) in the city of London, United Kingdom. The implemented project was a major failure due to variety of factors. The Each component of good state of the art has been ignored, each guideline of the Software engineering has ignored by the management and authorities’ neglected basic management principles. The working of the LAS can be summarized as: the system gets request by phone calls and sends ambulance based on nature, availability of resources. The automatic vehicle locating system (AVLS) and mobile data terminals (MDT) was used to perform automatic communication with ambulances.

Some of the major reasons for the failure of the London ambulance system can be stated as:

• The deadline given for the completion of the project was six months. The project of such big magnitude cannot be completed within a small deadline.

• The software was not fully developed and incomplete. The individual modules were tested, but the software was not tested fully as a integrated system.

• The resilience of the hardware under a full load condition had not been...
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