Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Textbook Project Management Failure

So the much-ballyhooed unveiling of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, AKA Obamacare) web sign-up occurred about three weeks ago. It was an utter failure. Does this mean that the ACA therefore also fails? Not necessarily.

What it really represents is a textbook failure of project management. Granted, I am saying this based on sketchy (and often biased) news reports, but this much seems clear:

Requirements creep? Check. Testing involved too late in the process? Check. Goldplating? Probably check.

The chart pictured here is titled "Periodic Table of FEPS I.T. Work Streams" (so FEPS has no periods in the abbreviation but I.T. does. Schizo). You can see a zoomable version of the chart at the link. First, periodic table? Someone had a cute idea that didn't make sense. The "key milestones" were missed and probably the schedule was unreasonable even if it was followed.

And speaking of that "periodic table of work streams" - The fact that the contractors' names are more prominent than their tasks/responsibilities indicates a fundamental lack of focus in the project. What needs to be done is more important than who is doing it. At least it has names so we know who to fire.

At a minimum, in Key Federal IT Staff I would fire Henry Chao (Executive Oversight), Monique Outerbridge (Program Oversight), and Tina Nguyen (Program Oversight). Although everyone named in that section should be sweating right now. Not that anything is really going to happen to them.

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