Whether you love the PPACA or despise it, there’s an article over at the New York Times on the development of the Healthcare.gov web site that you should read. It recounts the project’s rocky history and many roadbumps encountered along the way including excessive complexity, inability to specify functionality until very late in the project, unrealistic expectations, and unworkable delivery dates. I laughed out loud when I read this:
One person familiar with the system’s development said that the project was now roughly 70 percent of the way toward operating properly, but that predictions varied on when the remaining 30 percent would be done. “I’ve heard as little as two weeks or as much as a couple of months,” that person said. Others warned that the fixes themselves were creating new problems, and said that the full extent of the problems might not be known because so many consumers had been stymied at the first step in the application process.
It’s obvious the Times’s reporters aren’t familiar with the 90-90 rule. If that estimate is correct, it could be years before the site is actually working.
I genuinely sympathize with the Administration on this. It’s a sad state of affairs when you can’t admit problems, can’t admit even the smallest error, and can’t even do the right thing due to the political considerations. That may be fine when running a political campaign but in project planning it can be disastrous. Large scale projects have enough inherent problems.