"Countdown Y2K", Peter de Jager/Richard Bergeon, 1999, 0-471-32734-4,
%A Peter de Jager
%A Richard Bergeon
%C 5353 Dundas Street West, 4th Floor, Etobicoke, ON M9B 6H8
%I John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
%O U$29.99/C$46.50 416-236-4433 fax: 416-236-4448 rlangloi@...
%P 330 p.
%T "Countdown Y2K: Business Survival Planning for the Year 2000"
The authors have already had one crack at this, since this book is a
"complete update" (according to the publisher) of "Managing 00." The
level of experience is not exactly evident.
Chapter one is a disorganized aggregation of the various types and
ways that the 2000 year is going to present problems. (The blame is
once again laid on Hollerith cards.) It also tries to present an idea
of the size and scope of the crisis by looking at the volume of work
to be done. Because of the lack of structure, though, the impression
left is generally one of confusion. It is also rather odd that the
authors did not take the opportunity to present more examples from the
problems that have arisen, and how much work it took to deal with
them. (Appendix A gives a "case study": of a fictional company.) The
disarray extends into chapter two with discussions of project 2000
team composition, systems inventories, and a completely bizarre table
of "best before" dates for Microsoft products. Talk about embedded
systems get really disorienting in chapter three. We are told "an
aluminum plant began to run amok" (because of leap year, not Y2K) but
without more details it seems likely that this was due to a process
control failure, not an embedded system. There is also mention of the
failure of older GPS (Global Positioning Systems) in August of 1999,
without mention of the fact that this only coincidentally falls close
to December 31, 1999, and has a different cause. Chapter four returns
to Y2K projects, with some helpful information. However, it is also
clear that this material is dated, since it talks about "event
horizons" that have passed for just about everyone.
Y2K is a project, like any other project, and chapters five to seven
basically provide generic project management advice. Chapter five
looks at macro planning topics. There is a rehash of prior material
and a bit of a checklist in chapter six. Personnel issues dominate
Chapter eight gets into the nitty gritty of conversion with a look at
date formats, coding, and the windowing, bridging, or wrapping
approaches to software fixes. There is a recommendation to look to
the resources that you have, in terms of general maintenance software,
in chapter nine. A list of different types of maintenance tools, and
how they can be used for a Y2K project, is in chapter ten. Chapter
eleven looks at outsourcing and takes a balanced approach, although
its answer to the all important "how to assess" question is a reminder
of that old saw: if you can tell the difference between good advice
and bad advice you don't need any advice.
Chapter twelve is very important to any Y2K plan: how to plan for
failure. Which deficiency will create the most mess, and what can you
do about it? Legal problems and lawsuits are overviewed in chapter
thirteen. For those still needing tools or outsourcing, Appendix B
lists Y2K vendors. Appendix C provides information on Web sites. The
bibliography in appendix D is, for once, annotated. Unfortunately,
when you look at the annotations, they are fairly obviously just
recycled press releases.
Given the fact that the authors have already had one chance at the
subject, and have been at the forefront of publicizing the problem, it
is disappointing that the result isn't of higher quality. On the
other hand, one cannot say that it is any worse than the others in the
copyright Robert M. Slade, 1999 BKCNDY2K.RVW 990130
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