Debate Magazine

Episode 133, Obamacare as a Technology Disaster

Posted on the 24 October 2013 by Shrugger
Episode 133, Obamacare as a Technology DisasterI call it OTIS--Obamacare Technology Information System. As an IT project, OTIS is a failure.
Large software projects often fail. They commonly wind up way over budget, way behind schedule, and well short of functionality goals. Many end up abandoned entirely.
That's the history of computer programming, going back to the earliest days. Surprisingly, things haven't improved that much over time. Even today you will find failed efforts that in hindsight should never have been attempted, at least under the circumstances.
Obamacare as a technology effort will write another chapter in the history of failed software projects. With interfaces to large, complex, and poorly understood government systems, OTIS is much more than a website. OTIS is a major system layered atop multiple other systems. The goals for OTIS were overly ambitious, the timeline ridiculously tight, and the leadership lousy at all levels. We know this, because that's always the case when something as big and messy as OTIS crashes.
If you've ever been a programmer on a large project, you can imagine what it was like for the OTIS project team. They were on a death march. Everyone working heads down, writing code, testing code, logging errors--watching the list of problems grow as the go-live deadline loomed. And on the fateful day, holding their collective breaths, watching it all collapse.
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Pete Ferron

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