Product Management in the Real World -“The Divider” Case Study, Part III

See Part I and Part II if you haven’t already. 

The divider was released as an add-on to the “Knowledge keeper”. The first feedback was extremely positive.  The customer liked the concept. Although the user interface was a bit clunky, it was praised for its innovative look and feel. The few English spelling mistakes were forgiven by the customers who were used to this Israeli phenomenon.

Two months following the release, the support departmental started to get alarming reports. The “SQL blocker” stopped critical business application in various enterprises. Surprisingly,   one giant Washington based software company did not use the same standard protocol Ron used when he planned the feature.

“It’s not my fault they are not following the standard”, Ron shouted. “If I used their methods I would open a huge security hole in our product”.

Sigourney wondered out loud how QA could have missed such a show stopper. The head of QA had a quick answer:” We did not know that testing this database is a high priority. Even if I knew it is critical, I would not get the 30,000$ to buy it. And frankly I do not have a DBA position to install and maintain such a multifarious product. We only tested with MySQL since its open source and free. We do have a long term plan to build  real life server farm, but we never had a chance to get it done.”

“This type of problems can only be discovered by our beta program. Since the R&D was four months late, we were not able to get any real feedback from the program “.

On some customers sites, the SQL blocker kept blocking their application, even when it was turned off. Due to kernel memory considerations Ron decided it is better to crash the application when the string is unexpectedly long, and all the kbuf’s were gone. Unfortunately, this allocation took place even when the customer tried to disable the whole thing.
At other enterprises, an old security measure dropped internal mainframe communication.

The customers were extremely surprised since this problem happened in older version and they explicitly disabled it. Oberon sent a furious email to Ron. “How come we turned on something the customer explicitly turned off?”  “Arnold asked me to increase the visibility for this feature, so I turned it on during the upgrade. I have no way to know whether the customer turned it off, or it was off from the very beginning

TASP Security executive management was called for an urgent discussion.



One Response to “Product Management in the Real World -“The Divider” Case Study, Part III”

  1. gord Says:

    Great case study… hits home, can you send me an email, i’ve got a question for you.

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