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Olympic Planning

Olympic Planning

Though I’m from California, I’ve been living in Utah for the last five years. We moved here for a project in 1996, intending to stay only until the project was over. That project ended over two years ago, yet we’re still living south of Salt Lake City. During the last five years we’ve had the opportunity to see the planning and preparation for the recent winter Olympics. We also took the opportunity to go to several events including the short track speed skating. I’m a new fan of that sport, enjoying its strategies, frequent crashes, and disqualifications.

The airport, downtown area, and all venue locations underwent major transformations in the last few years. Over half a billion dollars was spent on those changes, while the entire budget was over one billion.

I’m glad someone took the time to plan, strategize, design, and then follow through. Could you imagine what would have happened if they had done a billion dollars worth of work without planning? The new light rail line to the University of Utah wouldn’t have worked. There would have been gaping holes in security. Systems that time the athletes and store results wouldn’t have been reliable. It would have been a disaster.

Each of those examples could be seen as a subsystem of the entire SLC Olympics infrastructure. Each is made up of numerous subsystems, all working together for the success of the overall system. If even one small part of the system breaks, the entire system could crash. The best example of that would be the scheduling system. What if it suddenly started giving out incorrect information, times, and locations? The athletes would have missed their events and the Olympics could have been a very costly failure.

Planning. That’s a very important factor in achieving success. Whether it’s for the Olympics or for the software project you’re working on, planning is a requirement for success. Sure, sometimes systems can be successfully developed without planning…sometimes. More often than not though, poor planning is the reason projects fail. My goal is to achieve success at every opportunity. One of the best ways to do that is to take time up-front to plan. Whether I’m developing large software systems, coaching my kids’ soccer teams, or buying my wife a birthday present, I take the time to plan so I don’t waste opportunities and will successfully achieve my goals.

Coming Up!
We have some interesting issues and articles coming up in the near future, which will help us all learn new stuff. Watch for articles covering EAServer 4.1, which will be released shortly. This version of EAServer takes us to the next level of scalability and robustness. In the May issue we’ll focus on Web services and give you the inside information on how it figures into Sybase’s plans for EAStudio and EAServer.

More Stories By John Olson

John D. Olson is a principal of Developower, Inc., a consulting company specializing in software solutions using Sybase development tools. A CPD Professional and charter member of TeamSybase, he is co-editor and author of two PB9 books, and the recipient of the ISUG Innovation and Achievement Award for 2003.

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