In what has been hailed as a major breakthrough in Software Development, the Irish Eco Agency yesterday revealed details of a new state of the art IT system which is believed to be the first of its type to be delivered on time, on budget and totally bug free.
IT Professionals worldwide are said to be stunned by this unprecedented success.
This comes against a background where the Irish Eco Agency has been at the receiving end of major criticism, some would say unwarranted, at its policies regarding Rainbows.
While the worldwide debate on the existence of pots of gold at the base of rainbows reaches fever pitch, rainbow sceptics continue to argue that rainbows are a natural phenomena caused by light refraction due to dust particles in the Earth's atmosphere.
This off course flies in the face of scientific evidence published in Nobel Laureate, and nearly President of the US, Al Gore, in his book "An Inconvenient Truth"
Mr Gore supported by the majority of the State funded Scientific Community and Rainbow Warriors argues strongly that there is indeed a pot of gold at the base of every rainbow and if we could embrace this known fact, a solution to our current global financial credit crunch could be remedied quickly and painlessly.
Rainbow sceptics continue to disagree and are firm in their belief that this is a convenient myth rather than a substantiated fact.
The Irish Eco Agency have strongly aligned themselves with Mr Gore and his band of Scientists and have positioned Irish fiscal policy to reap the eventual huge rewards that this phenomena offers.
Seeking to capitalise on potential revenue from the Rainbow, the Irish Eco Agency some 3 years ago enacted legislation that would require all Leprechauns to be licensed and subject to a Leprechaun Levy so that decisive regulatory control could be achieved to protect the National interest.
This meant that any citizen with Leprechauns in their garden hoping to cash in on a Rainbow landing in their property would have to obtain the necessary Leprechaun license and donate half of their windfall to the Eco Agency should their Leprechaun be successful.
This policy led to fierce demonstration throughout Irish Society as there was outrage at the thought that innocent Leprechauns could in effect be taxed as never before, the Irish Garden Gnome Movement even went to the European Court and successfully obtained an exclusion from the Legislation as they argued that they were in no way related to Leprechauns.
A deadline of 2008 was set for the Leprechaun Levy to come into force and The Irish Eco Agency set about developing their new regulatory system later to be come known as the Irish Rainbow Integration Programme or IRIP for short.
There then ensued a lengthy tendering process, surprising it took so long as their was only one applicant, but in the end the contract (well not really a contract, more a bit of a nod and a wink) was awarded to AirWare International, a bespoke developer of non-functioning software.
There was some scepticism at awarding the tender to AirWare as many suggested that their past performance was indeed an indicator of future performance but the Irish Eco Agency defended their decision citing the newly formed Software Testing Department as their champions of managing supplier's quality and delivery, this new and bold strategy would ensure the success of the project.
Again the critics remained defiant as the concept of Testing was somewhat new to the Eco Agency and totally foreign to the non-existent procedures of the selected supplier, AirWare.
In a brash step to expedite the delivery, AirWare negotiated that development of the product would commence immediately without the agreement of any requirements as they considered their expertise in this area would suffice.
Surprisingly this somewhat risky strategy initially looked as though it would pay dividends when AirWare unexpectedly announced the delivery of the first module some 3 months ahead of schedule.
The excitement was however short-lived when a brief exploratory test of the system revealed that while it was working quite well, the system was more applicable to a fuel derivative analysis tool which curiously AirWare had previously delivered to the Eco Agency.
Not to be deterred, Senior Eco Agency Management decided that that this major failure was a result of having no documented requirements which was clearly the responsibility of the Test Manager who was promptly fired.
Soon after a new Test Manager was sourced and though her previous position as an East German Stasi Official did not seem to qualify her for the job, she immediately got down to the task in hand.
Recognising that the problem had been caused by the lack of expertise in testing, the rest of the test team were promptly executed.
The new test strategy demanded that a larger and more importantly, a hand picked squad of experienced test personnel were needed, action was decisive and a new team of 20 ex Stasi Officials were recruited to replace the previous team of 3.
Key to the success of this new strategy was the formulation of a new approach to non-functional testing, in a nutshell, the trick was to have as many non-functioning testers creating vast arrays of non-functioning tests, this would ensure that no defects would ever be found in the new system and it would therefore be able to meet it's aggressive deadlines.
As a further modification to the delivery cycle it was also agreed that all future releases would be named by their planned monthly date, the year of release would however be encrypted at AirWare's request so as not to put their developer (I mean team) under too much pressure.
The project continued apace but while the deliveries were frequent, the defect rate was somewhat higher than originally expected and there was a degree of concern when initial testing found that 120% of requirements were failing, this was somewhat of a first in Software Development circles.
On foot of this, a further review took place and identified 2 major issues, the first being that some requirements would need to be de-coupled and normalised (some maintained this was really de-scoping) and secondly, that at least a further 50 testing staff would be needed as well as 10 non-functioning Test Managers.
The project which was now 3,500% over budget managed to acquire a further cash injection of £20 Billion, given the clearly demonstrated business case of the Leprechaun Levy, justification was easily secured.
Now that the full test team was in place they were finally in a position to really start writing their test scripts in anger, it's a pity to this day that they were ever allowed write these in a little known Stasi code called Gibberish.
While productivity seemed high among the team there was now little confidence that the tests being written applied to the system that wasn't being developed, this condition later became known as Rainbow Syndrome.
With the deadline of the Leprechaun Levy fast approaching, the project undertook some radical steps to bring everything back online - recognising that the major cause of defects in the software was a result of the software having to do something, it was decided to remove all functionality from the system.
This unprecedented approach certainly had its merits, it meant that development could now cease (it had done anyway, as the Developer had been on maternity leave for 2 months), all defects could now be closed and the unveiling of the brand new system could be planned.
Some questions still arose about potential performance problems of the new system in that while it was known that the system could cope with one user doing nothing, it was not certain that it would continue to non-function if 1000's of potential users sought to do nothing.
To allay these concerns the project decided to purchase a state of the art performance testing tool at vast expense, a further series of blank scripts were then developed and a successful load test was achieved.
Moreover, unlike any other software application in the world performance for the new Eco Agency system remained constant no matter what load was applied, it is believed that the radical design change of removing all functionality was the key to this never before seen software behaviour.
Other huge savings were made by the removal of the planned server farm to be replaced with an Amstrad 64 while the need for load balancing was also eliminated as no transactions were possible.
Following a final program review, the Eco Agency reported that an overall saving of 20% of planned budget had been achieved by dispensing with the development and testing phases of the project, this surplus has now been earmarked to produce a full Disaster Recovery solution.
While the Project Management element and Conference costs had consumed over 80% of budget, this was robustly defended given the complexity of the delivery and the price of tea and biscuits.
Meanwhile, it was sadly reported that the death of former nearly President Gore had occurred, it is understood that he walked over the side of a cliff while following a Rainbow though there are those who say an Irish Leprechaun pushed him.
Back in the Emerald Isle, the Leprechaun Levy has been described as a huge success, netting billions for the Eco Agency.
AirWare International has now become the preferred software supplier to all EU Governments and their share price has soared though the recent appointment of several Eco Agency Directors to the AirWare Board has raised a few eyebrows.
While the Rainbow Sceptics continually point out that not a single pot of gold has been found to date, the Rainbow Scientific community's latest theory is that they have all been swallowed up by a black hole following a crazy experiment led by the Swiss, rumour has it that the same black hole is where all the world's money is gone, but that's only a rumour!