Y2K – why I know it was a real problem

Great “Lessons Learnt” post, James. I was also a Test Consultant to several businesses and we definitely averted issues through our Analysis and Rectification programs.

James Christie's Blog

It’s confession time. I was a Y2K test manager for IBM. As far as some people are concerned that means I was party to a huge scam that allowed IT companies to make billions out spooking poor deluded politicians and the public at large. However, my role in Y2K means I know what I am talking about, so when I saw some recent comment that it was all nothing more than hype I felt the need to set down my first hand experience. At the time, and in the immediate aftermath of Y2K, we were constrained by client confidentiality from explaining what we did, but 15 years on I feel comfortable about speaking out.

Was there a huge amount of hype? Unquestionably.

Was money wasted? Certainly, but show me huge IT programmes where that hasn’t happened.

Would it have been better to do nothing and adopt a “fix on failure”…

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2 thoughts on “Y2K – why I know it was a real problem

  1. Pingback: Testing Bits – 1/11/15 – 1/17/15 | Testing Curator Blog

  2. Thanks Colin, Since I wrote the article I’ve realised the situation is even worse than I thought. I’ve not found any serious, credible account of what was done, why it was genuinely necessary, and why it was so difficult. The field has been left open to journalists, who just want to tell a readable story, and academics out to make a name for themselves with controversial nonsense.

    I’ve been involved in some disagreement over the WIkipedia article “Year 2000 problem”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_2000_problem

    The WIkipedia editors argue that blogs like mine lack credibility. The experience of practitioners who were deeply involved is a “primary source”. Under Wikipedia rules that isn’t as credible as a secondary source, e.g. journalists, who are accountable for what they write and whose work is checked for accuracy. Nonsense like a Wall Street Journal opinion piece calling Y2K the “hoax of the century” is therefore more credible, than direct experience. It’s a bit depressing. The hoax narrative is now accepted, and anything that contradicts is deemed to be controversial.

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