Could Have Been Worse

CNN reports,

On the first day, there was a big problem that we hadn’t heard about before. “There was a fix regarding residency for Medicaid and CHIP that was not fixed correctly and is denying … 90% of people based on residency,” the war room notes from the day read.

As the documents move on and issues are tackled one by one, sweeping problems continue to appear.

October 9: “A new problem in the system has been identified: for about 30% of the 70,000 applicants, the system has skipped applicants through ‘events’ that are required to complete the application.” In other words, nearly a third of applicants couldn’t fill out the form, because the website was skipping “events” or entries they needed to make.

Imagine what would have happened had there been no issues with speed on the site, and tens of thousands of people had been able to use it at once. The results would have been so catastrophic that they would have had to shut down the site. Of course, if this were a private-sector project, it would not still be live. I cannot imagine any private-sector company willing to take the sort of risks that the government is taking right now.

As an aside, here is columnist Suzanne Fields picking up on the suits vs. geeks divide.

As another aside, in another article from several years ago, the geek, Robert N. Charette writes,

If there’s a theme that runs through the tortured history of bad software, it’s a failure to confront reality.

That might serve as an epitaph for the rollout. The entire article is worth reading.

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One Response to Could Have Been Worse

  1. Bryan Willman says:

    “failure to confront reality” is a problem even in very good software – but it gets manifest as huge costs and late shipping dates.

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