Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Freddie Mac loses $2B - AGAIN

See http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/071120/earns_freddie_mac.html for reference.

The last time it was a $2B (OK, maybe $1B) error in bookkeeping. This time, they once again have made some "errors in judgement." So, to correct the problem they aren't going to restructure anything - that would mean admitting that what they had put in place was really bad. Instead they are going to hire Goldman Sachs and/or Lehman Brothers "... to help it examine possible new ways of raising capital in the near future." Fannie Mae, their sister company, is having the same problems for the same reasons.

This is what happens when you put in a rulebased system (extensively) into a company with cheap labor, no thought process other than "Gitter Done" and just dumping rules into a rulebase because they look good at the time. I'm really familiar with this system only because they tried to get me to work on the project (I refused) and later tried to get m to test the project (I refused) and later still tried to get me to debug the project (and I refused the third and last time) when they refused to allow me to re-write it properly. This is what I mean when I say that rules are declarative and should not be applied in a procedural manner as was being done there. Decision Table on top of Decision Table on top of Decision Table. There are times when you have to walk away from a project to protect your own fragile reputation as a rulebase Architect.

They tried to hire some first class people a long time ago to help but only paid $40/hr including expenses. In McLean, Virginia. About the same expense scale as London, Berlin, or NYC. They tried to hire some of my friends - they refused as well. The ones that I know who did go there soon left with horror tales of mis-management and abuse of the BRMS tool that they were using on various projects. Unfortunately, the vendor had little control over what they did since they would not hire the vendor's professional services either.

1 comment:

snshor said...

Yep, blame decision tables for real estate market meltdown. Are GS, MER, C, BSC etc also using cheap labor and decision tables? I would go farther and blame the values they put into decision tables for the problem. For example, I think 20(standard deviations) is to blame.