Airbus Crashes from Incompatible Software

Airbus Crashes from Incompatible Software

Summary: Buying the wrong software can significantly affect the health of even the largest company. If you don’t believe me, just ask Christian Streiff, former CEO of Airbus.

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TOPICS: Health, Software
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Buying the wrong software can significantly affect the health of even the largest company.

If you don’t believe me, just ask Christian Streiff, former CEO of Airbus. He was recently replaced due to delays on the company’s new flagship plane, stemming from a wrong software selection.

Carol Matlack describes this hard-to-believe situation in BusinessWeek:

It sounds too simple to be true. Airbus’ A380 megajet is now a full two years behind schedule—and the reason, CEO Christian Streiff admitted on Oct. 3, is that design software used at different Airbus factories wasn’t compatible. [Ed. note: on Oct. 10, Airbus announced that Louis Gallois is replacing Streiff as CEO.]

Early this year, when pre-assembled bundles containing hundreds of miles of cabin wiring were delivered from a German factory to the assembly line in France, workers discovered that the bundles, called harnesses, didn’t fit properly into the plane. Assembly slowed to a near-standstill, as workers tried to pull the bundles apart and re-thread them through the fuselage. Now Airbus will have to go back to the drawing board and redesign the wiring system.

It’s shaping up to be one of the costliest blunders in the history of commercial aerospace.

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Airbus said, “The root cause of the problem is that the 3D digital mockup, which facilitates the design of the electrical harnesses’ installation, was implemented late and that the people working on it were in their learning curve.
Don’t kid yourself: this happened at Airbus and it can happen to you. Big IT crashes don’t just fall from the sky — they result when a chain of smaller causes come together and cascade into something larger. Moral: be careful at every step of the way. Yes, it sounds too simple, but the cause of this enormous IT project failure also sounds too simple.

 

[via Shayne Nelson]

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Topics: Health, Software

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