Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Sources of some of the problems of the Obamacare website

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Richard Pollock has a good rundown in the Washington Examiner:

Federal officials did not permit testing of the Obamacare healthcare.gov website or issue final system requirements until four to six days before its Oct. 1 launch, according to an individual with direct knowledge of the project.

The individual, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described the troubled Obamacare website project as suffering from top-level management disarray, changing systems requirements and recurring delays.

The root cause of the problems was a pivotal decision by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services officials to act as systems integrator, the central coordinator for the entire program. Usually this role is reserved for the prime information technology contractor.

As a result, full testing of the site was delayed until four to six days before the fateful Oct. 1 launch of the health care exchanges, the individual said.

Federal officials were “freezing requirements in time to permit full testing at all levels of the site — integration testing, user testing, performance testing and tuning,” the individual said.

“Normally a system this size would need 4-6 months of testing and performance tuning, not 4-6 days,” the individual said.

The source said there were “ever-changing, conflicting and exceedingly late project directions. The actual system requirements for Oct. 1 were changing up until the week before,” the individual said.

The individual described the project as suffering from a “lack of an end-to-end business and technology vision for the project,” adding that “the hardest part of any technology project is not the technology — it is the business process decisions, what is the system supposed to do and how it will it do it.”

In addition, “The challenge with this project was that the decisions were made very, very late in the project, and no one organization … seemed to know how this complex ecosystem of applications, interfaces, user processes and hardware should all work together.”

Another person, a former employee of CGI Federal — the private-sector contractor hired to build healthcare.gov — said the government’s insistence on being the systems integrator resulted in disastrous consequences for the website.

The former employee said that “requirements came late, CMS dictated the design, especially the sign-up-before-viewing-plans, and there was absolutely not enough time for testing.” . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

19 October 2013 at 10:07 am

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