Reply to post: Only a government could survive a payroll system collapse

'Incomprehensible failure' – Canada's $1bn Phoenix payroll IT fiasco torched by auditors


Only a government could survive a payroll system collapse

Way back when, I was given a project to port a number of engineering applications mostly in Fortran from VM to (yes) Multics. So I picked an application guinea pig for a pilot project to quantify the effort that would be required to do the whole lot.

The vendor touted its Conversion Support Team; so I brought them in for a meeting. In their eyes, my pilot would be a major project - not a good omen.

The pilot quickly crashed and burned with several mysterious messages from Multics and the compilers. My conclusion was that the technical demands vastly outweighed the available expertise including the vendor Conversion Support Team.

The conversation project was called off. I heard some talk that I had failed while I had in fact spared the company from a fiasco that would have cost many times my salary over my entire tenure.

The Multics system was eventually brought in to replace the vendor's earlier Time Sharing System. It gave no end of trouble and I occasionally stuck my head in my manager's office to remind him of the misery I had spared him from.

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