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!