Well before answering the questions, I think we are missing something that is very basic –yet forgotten in Washington DC. The success and failure on any project rests with the people (both the Fed Mgmt and their Contractors) hired to do the job. Until we realize this is a people problem, we are simply trying to build a Mansion on a foundation built for a Cape Cod house.
As I study up on my Silicon Valley peers , I see that culture of Washington DC in not congruent with Information Technology. That really needs to be changed and FISMA, Project Management, ITIL and other processes do not fix the problems with IT departments and their projects. That is unless you have people who can understand the process and translate it into a working piece of Technology (e.g. Valhalla).
Now to answer the questions from above:
1. The Website (really it is an application) should have been a turn key solution developed by a company that specializes in customer facing websites and services. Such as Google.
2. This should have not been a multi-award contract. It should have been a SOO (Statement of Objectives) and award based on requirements versus the “good ole” low bidder SOW (Statement of Work) approach.
3. I poked around after all the publicity, looks good — needs some tweaking, didn’t register.
4. No, until you fix the people problem –there will be a long road to Valhalla (Spring ’14 )
It all starts with the people. Create a place for innovation in Government and hire people who get it, (have congress) fix the procurement process, and then go shopping for IT products and services.