*Michael Hyatt* - Likelihood Of 'Best-Case Scenario' -greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
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Likelihood of 'best-case scenario'
by Michael Hyatt
Wednesday, December 1, 1999
Here's a pop quiz for you: how many times have you seen the "best-case scenario" of any situation come true?
If you've spent any time at all living in the "real world" (you know what I mean: marriage, career, child-rearing, coaching a soccer team, preparing Thanksgiving dinner, etc.), then you know that our best-laid plans often get blown to bits right off the bat.
Or as I once heard a pastor say, "If you want to hear God laugh, just tell Him your plans."
For example, over the years I've done a number of home improvement projects. Before doing any actual construction work, I plan out exactly how the project will proceed. I make a list of all the materials I need and how much time it will take. No matter how conservative my estimates, no matter how much I try to anticipate every possible problem that could occur, when I finally start doing the work, the project always takes twice as much time and costs twice as much money.
I think most people can relate. Whether home improvement projects or the common, everyday situations in the workplace, our plans usually end up requiring more time and effort than we originally thought.
Over the years I've also done quite a bit of software testing and product analysis for many computer firms. Take my word for it, when it comes to complex computer software, if the track record to complete a project was only twice the time and cost, the entire technology industry would be thrilled.
Computer software projects, as with most aspects of modern life, hardly ever follow the best-case scenario.
I raise this issue because virtually all of the predictions, projections, and prognostications we hear from government and business leaders about the Y2K problem are best-case scenarios. And as a result, the vast majority of American citizens are basing their personal preparation plans (or lack of plans) on these best-case scenarios.
We are being told that Y2K-related disruptions -- if any -- will be minor and brief. So minor and brief, in fact, that no more than three days worth of food, water, and flashlight batteries will be needed.
But these overly optimistic forecasts are based on the following assumptions:
The basic infrastructure will surely work smoothly. If one or more of the following industries experience severe disruptions, even temporarily, we're in big trouble: electrical power, water and sewer service, telecommunications, oil and gas, banking, and transportation. Every single one of these basic infrastructure industries must operate smoothly during the century rollover period or else the best-case scenario cannot possibly happen.
Hastily-installed and partially-tested computer systems will work fine. Trying to keep track of the number of Y2K repair projects that have missed key deadlines is like trying to keep track of Bill Clinton's fibs; there are just too many. Many Y2K-compliant computer systems are being hastily-installed with little or no testing. Technically, the installation of a new system is not late until it misses the final deadline (which is why we keep hearing, "We expect to be 100 percent compliant by the end of the year!"), but when Jan. 1 arrives these systems must put up or shut up. Common sense tells us that many of these partially-tested systems will indeed shut up.
Manual contingency plans will operate just as efficiently as automated systems. Many organizations assume that if computer systems malfunction in January, they can run their businesses manually -- just like they did a couple of decades ago. But there is a good reason companies became computerized in the first place: it's much more effective and efficient. In other words, you can get a lot more done a lot faster with a lot less workers. Going back to doing business with pencils and paper and calculators will slow things down drastically. In many firms (if not most), it can't be done at all. Also, most firms no longer have the proper tools or the trained personnel who remember how to do it. If Y2K problems shut down a business system, most employees will be staring at their blank screens without a clue of what to do next.
Suppliers and third-party vendors will be as reliable as always. This could be the biggest problem of all. Many organizations are focusing all their energies on upgrading their internal computer systems. Most don't have time to check the status of their critical third-party vendors. They are assuming their suppliers will deliver in the year 2000 with the same on-time reliability as in 1999. This could prove to be a costly error in judgement. Our fast-paced, high-tech economy is a network of systems and a system of networks. Large corporations have tens of thousands of key vendors, with supply chains extending around the globe. A few broken links in this vast, just-in-time chain could wreak havoc on economic activity.
Each of these assumptions must come true for the best-case scenario of Y2K to occur. I would suggest it is very unlikely that these assumptions are valid.
As I've written many times, the Year 2000 Computer Problem is a risk-management issue. What are the risks that we face, and what steps should we take to protect our loved ones?
It is impossible to calculate the precise odds of what will or will not fail in January, since Y2K is an unprecedented event. But because it is unprecedented, because we have no experience dealing with a worldwide, simultaneous technological tremor, it would seem the odds are rather slim the best case-scenario will happen.
Maybe the best-case scenario will come to pass. (And maybe Joseph Farah will be named the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee.) However, if the best-case scenario does not happen -- if some unexpected disruptions occur or if cascading failures are more damaging than anticipated -- the health and welfare of million of people will be at risk. I urge you to take steps to protect your family while there yet a little time.
-- snooze button (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 01, 1999
Link - Likelihood of 'best-case scenario'
-- Linda (email@example.com), December 01, 1999.
I think I recognized the man responsible all along "Murphy" I have seen him in action before. He is so famous they wrote a law called "Murphey's Law" and the best one yet is "..... and if anything can possibly go wrong it will!"
Wow! I found the culpret he was here all along.
-- Susan Barrett (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 01, 1999.
A transistor will always protect a fuse
-- pho (email@example.com), December 01, 1999.
Another assumption: The 90% or so of computers granted non-mission critical status are of so little importance that if they are not remediated no one will notice.
-- (RUOK@yesiam.com), December 01, 1999.