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Why The Obamacare Website Was Doomed

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Worth a read as it covers both US and UK large IT projects (and why they fail). I don't think it's the whole story - often the project is simply not viable, and recognising and responding to that is another issue, albeit related.

Why the Obamacare website was doomed

The truly amazing thing about this soap opera is that it was allowed to go on for so long. But eventually the penny dropped: HMG simply had to smarten up. And smarten up it has. The Cabinet Office now has some geeks who can spot consultancy ******** at 50 paces. The unit they belong to is called the Government Digital Service. Its brief is to build the right technology, using modern methods and approaches, or to employ agile computing firms that regard £100,000 as a lot of money and that are accustomed to delivering on time.

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Here's the part I don't understand.

Big UK IT projects like Health Service database and Universal Credit have to take somethng pre-existing, integrate with it, sequentially replace it and be simpler. It's a recipe for complexity and overspend. Obamacare was starting from ground zero - nothing pre-existing and the biggest challenge was only ever going to be about how to give enough people access when you first turn it on.

If they can't even get a green field project right, there's no chance I'm ever going to get my CD & MP3 database finished.


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