Install Assumptions

This year we upgraded the tools used for application development. As a result, the build and install scripts needed to be modified. One would think that this would have been the easy part of the upgrade. However we are finding some problems at the last minute during customer testing. The first problem was due to a global decision made on the location of the Oracle 10g client. The team lead assumed that all computers should C: and D: local disk drives. To save space, the decision was made to put the Oracle 10g client on the D: drive. The first time the client tried to run our Oracle client install script, it bombed since D: is mapped to the CD-ROM on the client workstations.

It is often the wrong assumption that gets you in the software development world. The effect of the assumptions could have been mitigated by following through and confirming the assumptions with the client. Even better would have been to obtain some client machines up front and figure these things out ourselves. That was the initial plan. But somewhere along the way the plan got scrapped. Now here we stand scrambling to get the install scripts modified. Luckily I am not the install script developer. I wonder if the decision makers knew the risk when they decided to allow us to not get computers.

Our install developer has been on the phone all morning with a system administrator from the client trying to debug the install issues. This is most unfortunate. It is understandable if there are small issues once in while. But when a lot of things break down during the install, it does not look good for us. Perhaps the best way to proceed is to gather some lessons learned and make sure we do not encounter this problem again.