The Olympic Games is now just around the corner, with London 2012 officially opening on 27 July.
We’ve talked previously on this blog about the challenges of testing in a very public arena, discussing Lockheed Martin’s development of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and even the SpaceX project. But I think testing the Olympic Torch must have been one of the most public exposures imaginable.
It’s easy to take such projects for granted, or merely to be cynical and only notice flaws. According to a recent BBC article, the teams involved in testing the Olympic Torch endured wind tunnels gusting up to 50 mph, temperatures of -5C to 40C, as well as 95% humidity, through rain and snow.
It was clearly apparent that the teams involved went through some genuinely extreme situations to ensure the Olympic flame would burn bright during the British summer. I’m also sure that they are not telling us the full reality of the testing conditions that they tackled – I can certainly think of few more issues they would have had to overcome.
But my immediate thoughts revolve around that critical point at which any development team must actually hand over its project to the client, ready for use. It’s only natural at that pivotal stage to always think “Have I done enough testing?” Even with a solid plan in place throughout a project lifecycle, there are always limiting factors that keep you from testing every situation that you’d like.
So just imagine the thoughts and concerns of those Olympic torch testers – because each time something does happen to the flame, it has a very public, and far reaching impact, that few people consider.
Until 27 July then, here’s looking forward to an exciting, and flawless, Olympic summer!