November 19, 2013 at 12:44 am #180887
David B. GrinbergParticipant
We all know about the unfortunate technical problems associated with Healthcare.gov.
Federal Times reports:
- How CMS managed the Healthcare.gov repair project; IT response to insurance site problems ongoing
1) How do you think the website should have been better managed from the outset?
2) Do you agree with the process and progress of current IT fixes reported by Federal Times? If not, what would you recommend instead?
3) What have you personally heard from friends, family or colleagues who have used Healthcare.gov?
4) Do you think the website will be working well by the end of November? If not, how long is a reasonable amount of time?
* All views and opinions are my own.
November 19, 2013 at 6:58 pm #180891
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.
November 23, 2013 at 9:17 pm #180889
David B. GrinbergParticipant
Jerry, thanks so much for sharing your insightful perspective. I agree with your point about the “people problem” which — as you note — may come down to a federal procurement system in needs of major overhaul.
Hiring contractors at the lowest cost does not necessarily equate with producing the best products and services — this is especially true of career contractors who have become too savvy at “gaming” the system.
I read somewhere that Apple spent about 10 times less money to produce the i-phone compared to the costs for Healthcare.gov. You’re correct about needing the best and brightest IT companies to handle a project with the scope, magnitude and importance of Healthcare.gov — whether that talent comes from Silicon Valley or elsewhere.
In hindsight, there may not always be a second chance to get it right. Further, in the world of public opinion often times first impressions last and perception is reality (whether warranted or not).
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