The General Accounting Office (GAO) has issued a report detailing the failures of the healthcare.gov website, and the findings are astounding - starting with the billion (yes, with a B) dollar price tag. Regardless of your thoughts about the policy, the report provides some great lessons learned for IT Project Managers.
The biggest culprits that the GAO study identifies are ineffective planning, ineffective oversight, and ineffective contract management. I've written about this to some degree before, when a study completed 9 months prior to the website's rollout identified numerous issues that weren't resolved. The GAO study dives a bit deeper into these issues.
CMS, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, undertook the website development project. They incurred significant cost increases, schedule slips, and delayed system functionality due primarily to changing requirements that were exacerbated by oversight gaps.
The study concludes that the efforts by CMS were plagued by undefined requirements, the absence of a required acquisition strategy, confusion in contract administration responsibilities, and ineffective use of oversight tools. In addition, CMS did not adhere to the governance model designed for the process, resulting in design and readiness reviews being diminished in importance, delayed, or skipped entirely. By combining that governance model with a new IT development approach the agency had not tried before, CMS added even more uncertainty and potential risk to their process. The result was that problems were not discovered until late, and only after costs had grown significantly.
What does this mean for you? Well, besides having to pay the price for ineffective project management, it also provides a lessons-learned opportunity when pursuing your own IT projects. If you have any hesitation on launching your new IT projects, it pays to have experienced professionals guide you on the front end as opposed to suffering a public meltdown and significant cost overruns on the tail end.
If you have an IT Project on the horizon, Paintrock Consulting can help you manage that project effectively and efficiently. From helping you shape your scope requirements into information that is logical to developers, to determining which project management methodology is best for your goals, to implementing and managing your project and helping you secure additional short-term resources that can come together to help your organization reach its goals - let us help!
Microsoft has released a whole slew of free e-book downloads, including Windows 8, Office 365, SharePoint, Lync, Azure, Powershell and more from Microsoft Developers Network. There is no need to be a developer - these resources include quick and easy user tips, too!
Here's the link to the blog site that provides a little more information on this annual giveaway. Take a look to see what e-books might be of interest or use to you!
You are probably too wise to fall for this, but since everyone is online these days - from children to seniors - tech support scams and their impact are an unfortunate growing industry. Keep about this threat so that you can protect your friends and family.
Imagine getting a cold call from an unknown phone number. The person calling you says that they're calling from Windows or Apple or Microsoft, and advise that your computer seems to be infected. Then they advise their certified technician can help you.
If this has happened to you or someone you know, you have been a victim of scamming. How severe a victim depends on whether or not you believed the caller, granted them access to your computer, and provided your credit card information.
These kinds of tech support scams have been around for almost a decade, and while the FTC is aware of them, it is not very effective at stopping them. This article from Malwarebytes expertly summarizes the variety of tech support scams out in the wild. They range from cold-calling, fraudulent toll-free numbers that fill up search results, and fake pop-ups. Once you are talking with a phony tech support agent, you will be requested to grant remote access to your computer, during which a whole new set of scams are applied to make it appear your computer is infected.
During a remote access session, the scammer can implant anything onto your computer -you effectively grant them full control. So, you provide your credit card information to have this issue cleaned up. You are then held hostage to this scam which will continue to charge your credit card to keep your computer "safe", or relaunch the spammy software that it paused previously.
The main point I stress with elder relatives is this:
No legitimate technical support entity is going to phone you out of the blue to assume your computer is running slowly. If in doubt, take down their contact information and tell them you'll phone back. In most cases, that will end the call right there.
If you are having a computer problem, here is what I suggest:
The Malwarebytes article is an excellent resource with screen shots of what fraudulent "tech support" people may show you, along with an explanation of what you are actually seeing. It concludes with a Tech Support Black List of known fraudulent "tech support" resources.
Stay safe out there!