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#1 User is offline   MTP Reggie 

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Posted 29 June 2019 - 05:10 PM

Boeing's 737 Max Software Outsourced to $9-an-Hour Engineers
Bloomberg
Peter Robison
June 28, 2019

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It remains the mystery at the heart of Boeing Co.'s 737 Max crisis: how a company renowned for meticulous design made seemingly basic software mistakes leading to a pair of deadly crashes. Longtime Boeing engineers say the effort was complicated by a push to outsource work to lower-paid contractors.

The Max software -- plagued by issues that could keep the planes grounded months longer after U.S. regulators this week revealed a new flaw -- was developed at a time Boeing was laying off experienced engineers and pressing suppliers to cut costs.

Increasingly, the iconic American planemaker and its subcontractors have relied on temporary workers making as little as $9 an hour to develop and test software, often from countries lacking a deep background in aerospace -- notably India.

In offices across from Seattle's Boeing Field, recent college graduates employed by the Indian software developer HCL Technologies Ltd. occupied several rows of desks, said Mark Rabin, a former Boeing software engineer who worked in a flight-test group that supported the Max.

The coders from HCL were typically designing to specifications set by Boeing. Still, "it was controversial because it was far less efficient than Boeing engineers just writing the code," Rabin said. Frequently, he recalled, "it took many rounds going back and forth because the code was not done correctly."

Boeing's cultivation of Indian companies appeared to pay other dividends. In recent years, it has won several orders for Indian military and commercial aircraft, such as a $22 billion one in January 2017 to supply SpiceJet Ltd. That order included 100 737-Max 8 jets and represented Boeing's largest order ever from an Indian airline, a coup in a country dominated by Airbus.

Based on resumes posted on social media, HCL engineers helped develop and test the Max's flight-display software, while employees from another Indian company, Cyient Ltd., handled software for flight-test equipment.

Costly Delay

In one post, an HCL employee summarized his duties with a reference to the now-infamous model, which started flight tests in January 2016: "Provided quick workaround to resolve production issue which resulted in not delaying flight test of 737-Max (delay in each flight test will cost very big amount for Boeing)."

Boeing said the company did not rely on engineers from HCL and Cyient for the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, which has been linked to the Lion Air crash last October and the Ethiopian Airlines disaster in March. The Chicago-based planemaker also said it didn't rely on either firm for another software issue disclosed after the crashes: a cockpit warning light that wasn't working for most buyers.

"Boeing has many decades of experience working with supplier/partners around the world," a company spokesman said. "Our primary focus is on always ensuring that our products and services are safe, of the highest quality and comply with all applicable regulations."

In a statement, HCL said it "has a strong and long-standing business relationship with The Boeing Company, and we take pride in the work we do for all our customers. However, HCL does not comment on specific work we do for our customers. HCL is not associated with any ongoing issues with 737 Max."

(snip)

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#2 User is online   zurg 

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Posted 29 June 2019 - 06:15 PM

View PostMTP Reggie, on 29 June 2019 - 05:10 PM, said:

Boeing's 737 Max Software Outsourced to $9-an-Hour Engineers
Bloomberg
Peter Robison
June 28, 2019


said Mark Rabin, a former Boeing software engineer

Suspicious cat is suspicious
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#3 User is offline   Rock N' Roll Right Winger 

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Posted 29 June 2019 - 10:22 PM

This would explain a lot?

I have seen similar :bs: often happen where I work with stupid incompetent civil engineers that are hired on the cheap that should never have been trusted to build a bird house much less tens of millions of dollars worth of city utility infrastructure projects.

Follow the money, folks.

This post has been edited by Rock N' Roll Right Winger: 29 June 2019 - 10:23 PM

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#4 User is offline   oki 

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Posted 01 July 2019 - 08:28 AM

Dear Boeing:

I, along with millions of others are eagerly awaiting a detailed memo of the NET COST savings achieved by using X Software Development company for the 737 MAX's systems.
We are sure that even after months long grounding of the 737 MAX their has been a huge net savings.....

I guess no one stopped to think there is a reason these guys are only paid $9.00 an hour. But hey, it's only the code for critical systems on an aircraft.
Just a thought though, if you can't trust the airlines safety and training enough to let them fly here, maybe just maybe you shouldn't sell them the aircraft and let them fly it anywhere.
IE if you can't trust someone to drive YOUR CAR in your own neighborhood, then maybe you shouldn't be letting them drive it even in their neighborhood.


Oki
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#5 User is offline   usapatriot 

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Posted 01 July 2019 - 09:08 PM

Boeing had 250,000 employees in 1996. Boeing has 149,000 employees today. Many of those 100,000 fewer Boeing employees were replaced with workers outsourced in places like India. To make room of these cheaper outsourced workers and reduce costs, Boeing has had a reduction in force (RIF) or better known as a lay off every year since 1996. As a result of years of lay offs, a certain undesirable organizational culture developed. Boeing determined which employees to lay off based on who had the lowest performance evaluations, but if an employee was the only person who had knowledge of a specific critical area, he/she was exempt from the RIF. This criteria initially resulted in people trying to get higher performance evaluation scores to obviously avoid the next round of lay offs. Typically, one would think this isn't a bad thing...everyone trying to achieve excellence. But, what it did was push the average score very high as every manager was trying to protect their people. Thus, the performance evaluations eventually became useless. To combat this, HR decreed all performance scores had to be based on the bell curve with the average no higher than 3 (on a scale from 1-4). Fundamentally, employees saw this as patently unfair as you could theoretically really have a group of employees who WERE outstanding, but that didn't matter. This was very demoralizing and resulted in no one helping others as that would likely increase their performance score relative to your own. Another problem the RIF criteria caused was a general lack of employees sharing their knowledge with others. If you were the only one who knew a critical area, it didn't matter what your performance score was, you wouldn't be RIF'ed. This criteria was used often as a reason why a manager could not RIF one of their employees even if their performance score was the lowest among other employees.

So, how does all of this relate to the 737 Max issues. Well, after 23 straight years of lay offs, slowly but surely, a lot of good engineers were either laid off or they simply finally made it to retirement age and retired. But, their knowledge went with them. There were always the last minute efforts to get these engineers to document what they know, but for the most part their documentation was useless. So, you have a lot of inexperienced (compared to the engineers they are replacing) engineers and they are bound to miss something. I know that engineers leave companies all the time so some would say this isn't new. Agreed, but the difference here is the magnitude of the reduction in force, who's replacing them (outsourced engineers from India) and the number of years (23 and counting) that it has been in effect. Most companies down-sizing do it once and get it over with quickly as they know how demoralizing it is to the employees. Within a few years, employees forget about the RIF and the sharing of knowledge and working together to achieve company goals is of primary concern for employees. Since 1996, Boeing hasn't let their employees feel they are safe from the next lay off because they do it every year. If Boeing makes last year's RIF the last one for a very long time, then within a few years, the culture will change and people will begin enthusiastically sharing knowledge and actively working with others to mentor their future replacements.
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