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The Billion-Dollar Website

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the get-what-you-paid-for-minus-a-billion-dollars dept.

Government 194

stoborrobots writes: The Government Accountability Office has investigated the cost blowouts associated with how the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) handled the Healthcare.gov project. It has released a 60-page report entitled Healthcare.gov: Ineffective Planning and Oversight Practices Underscore the Need for Improved Contract Management, with a 5 page summary. The key takeaway messages are:

  • CMS undertook the development of Healthcare.gov and its related systems without effective planning or oversight practices...
  • [The task] was a complex effort with compressed time frames. To be expedient, CMS issued task orders ... when key technical requirements were unknown...
  • CMS identified major performance issues ... but took only limited steps to hold the contractor accountable.
  • CMS awarded a new contract to another firm [and the new contract's cost has doubled] due to changes such as new requirements and other enhancements...

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Technical People (5, Interesting)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 2 months ago | (#47676751)

Non technical people are not competent to commission technical work from technical people.

If you (as a government or large company) don't have your own technical people on staff to oversee the process and comprehend or write the specs, you're doomed. The contractors know well how to milk a cash cow, simply by adhering to the specs written by people who don't understand how to write specs.

Re:Technical People (5, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 months ago | (#47676783)

Non technical people are not competent to commission technical work from technical people.

If you (as a government or large company) don't have your own technical people on staff to oversee the process and comprehend or write the specs, you're doomed. The contractors know well how to milk a cash cow, simply by adhering to the specs written by people who don't understand how to write specs.

Sadly this is true, but it shouldn't be. Technical people should have the professionalism to analyse requirements and check that the requirements fit the purpose. Unfortunately the way of the world is that technical people would be quickly shuffled out of the way by sales and marketing if they started to reduce revenue by telling a customer what they really wanted instead of what the spec says.

Re:Technical People (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47676813)

Unfortunately the way of the world is that technical people would be quickly shuffled out of the way by sales and marketing if they started to reduce revenue by telling a customer what they really wanted instead of what the spec says.

Truer words have never been said.

I anonymously mod you up +5.

Re:Technical People (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 2 months ago | (#47677817)

I anonymously mod you up +5.

Wait. How'd you do that?

Re:Technical People (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47676867)

Technical people should have the professionalism to analyse requirements and check that the requirements fit the purpose.

Typically, they do. However you overlook one key component of this and then dump the blame completely on sales & marketing (not entirely unfair, they are typically huge scumbags). This requirements analysis and design phase costs more money than development. The cost for architecting software is far higher than simply building it. Clients typically do not want to pay for this and assume they know how to do it themselves. This is exactly what happened to healthcare.gov.

I have seen this happen with both state government and private corporation projects alike. I've never done a federal project, so I can't speak first hand about that, but I know people who have and they report the same is true when working for a federal agency.

So yes, part of the blame definitely should go to the sales & marketing bastards, but a very large chunk is on the client for not wanting to fork over the cash up front. This almost always results in spending even more cash later on to fix what people think are bugs but are really design failures which result from poor architecture and design processes.

Re:Technical People (5, Insightful)

david.emery (127135) | about 2 months ago | (#47676953)

PLEASE Mod Parent up! I've been working on large government funded systems (defense and commercial) for 35+ years, and in my view programs are screwed from the beginning by overly-aggressive schedules for the up-front work. When the incomplete/absent requirements/architecture/design results in coding, or more often test and integration delays, they'll find more money and time. By then, it's too late.

Back when we had explicit waterfall milestones (requirements review, preliminary design review, etc), we could tell at PDR a program would fail as a result of incomplete or even incorrect requirements & architecture.

Unfortunately, the adoption of "Agile" in these organizations has reinforced the culture of "We don't need no stinking requirements! We can draw an architecture on a whiteboard in an afternoon", resulting in systems where you really can't say anything intelligent about how long it will take to complete them, because you have no fscking idea what "complete" actually is.

And this -should not be a revelation-, at least to anyone who has read "Mythical Man-Month," which will be 40 years old next year. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

Thank God I'm getting ready to retire.

Re:Technical People (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 2 months ago | (#47677867)

Thank God I'm getting ready to retire.

Stock up on essentials now. Or even sell everything and retire to a warm island. It's only getting worse here.

Re:Technical People (2)

Bartles (1198017) | about 2 months ago | (#47678815)

You do realize that Cynthia McKinney was the Green Party nominee in 2008, right? For me, it would take a lot for them to right that wrong and get my consideration again.

Re:Technical People (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47678139)

Unfortunately, the adoption of "Agile" in these organizations has reinforced the culture of "We don't need no stinking requirements! We can draw an architecture on a whiteboard in an afternoon", resulting in systems where you really can't say anything intelligent about how long it will take to complete them, because you have no fscking idea what "complete" actually is.

And this -should not be a revelation-, at least to anyone who has read "Mythical Man-Month," which will be 40 years old next year. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

Thank God I'm getting ready to retire.

You've just described most government contractors business model. If they deliver a piece of software that is bug free and satisfies all the customer's requirements, that is actually frowned upon. If a project delivers on time and under budget, people get fired because leadership considers the project a failure. Finished on time? That means no contract extension. No bugs to fix and the product is user friendly and easy to maintain? No O&M contract opportunity. Satisfied all the requirements? No follow on contract opportunity. Because of the overhead of the army of managers employed, they actually lost money.

Working for a government contractor, it is definitely in your best interest to write shitty code, screw off as much as possible, slip deadlines. It is in your best interests to suck at your job.

Re:Technical People (3, Insightful)

poached (1123673) | about 2 months ago | (#47678655)

Agile is not about not needing requirements. It's about the fact that any complex project will have requirement changes and the project and the people on the project need to deal with those changes quickly. It's like that saying, "the only constant in the world is change." Rather than avoiding change and try to spec out everything in advance (which cannot be done), embrace it and deal with it so it minimizes disruption.

There are meetings to gather requirements, but those meetings are two-way; you also present and let clients play around with whatever you have and gather feedback and incorporating those feedback into the next iteration. By the time you deliver the product, there shouldn't be any surprises to the client about how the product behaves. Both parties are happy with their experience.

Re:Technical People (1)

david.emery (127135) | about 2 months ago | (#47678709)

Kool-aid...

Re:Technical People (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47678775)

In theory, yes, but Agile is very rarely properly implemented. You still need to gather initial requirements. You also need requirements to not be constantly changing on a basis that's impossible to keep up with. And in order to release a production-worthy product, you need them to not change right up to, during, and after product launch.

This is all where shit goes wrong, and where it went drastically wrong with heathcare.gov.

Re:Technical People (3, Interesting)

Dr. Evil (3501) | about 2 months ago | (#47678753)

Last place I work was run by millenial developers.

They told me "the code is the documentation".

I asked them "ok, what are the requirements?"

They gave me a blank stare.

"How can we write code until we know what we're trying to accomplish?"

"You want to write a 300 page Word doc that nobody's going to read?"

I was at a loss... "no, but a doodle on a napkin might be enough. I need *something*"

Possibly the most educational 6 months of my life. Didn't accomplish much, everything got thrown out for not fulfilling the non-existent requirements. Despite the maddness, the people were nice. It took a long time for me to really understand what was going on. In the end, I was glad to leave the gig. The company was made of three one-man developer shows who didn't understand that the stuff in the heads of three developers were separate and unrelated requirements documents for separate projects. It was impossible to contribute to any project without reading the mind of the developer.

They measured their own success in achiving goals after they were accomplished. Which meant that the stars shone, but contributors rarely had successes.

Re:Technical People (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47678803)

who has read "Mythical Man-Month," which will be 40 years old next year.

Maybe if we both read it, it'll only be 20 years old.

Re:Technical People (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47677955)

sales & marketing (not entirely unfair, they are typically huge scumbags)

I'm a web developer who works in the marketing department of a large organization. The people in my department are smart professionals who are tasked with keeping the organization on-message and professional in its communications with the outside world. This is an immensely difficult herding-cats kind of job because so many different departments and individuals are communicating with the public every day, and many of them do so in a way that unnecessarily casts the organization in a negative light. Sometimes it's just a matter of professionalism (poor grammar/spelling, rudeness, childishness), and other times it's because they're uninformed and telling people things that simply aren't true, which ends up confusing everyone.

Our department has a broader and deeper understanding of this organization than anyone else here, including the top leadership. We're the ones who have to continuously remind everyone else of the organization's guiding principles and priorities. And every time someone sends out yet another bulk email to 20,000 people in pink Comic Sans containing information that was no longer accurate as of 2007, we're the ones who have to beg them, yet again, to run their communications by us before they send them out. In fact, how about we just start sending your materials out for you? We'd be happy to. No, really, it would be our pleasure.

Contrary to common opinion, that's what a lot of marketing jobs are really like. Maybe some marketing people are scumbags, but not the ones I work with.

Re:Technical People (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47678123)

> The cost for architecting software is far higher than simply building it

Say what? This makes no sense. How is nobody else commenting on how backwards this is? Using colorful language "simply building it" to characterize a falsehood, doesn't make it true. Building out a complex system is the only way to find undocumented or unknown conditions and redesign interfaces to deal with that. You don't usually "rearchitect" the whole project because 1 resource has a snag, but investigation and rework NEVER overruns the cost of implementation. It IS the cost of implementation.

Re:Technical People (1)

Metabolife (961249) | about 2 months ago | (#47677019)

Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Bankers without oversight lie and steal. CEOs without oversight lie and steal. Techs without oversight lie and steal. Not everyone will follow this path, but you will always have a few.

Re: Technical People (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47678307)

The solution is to take away the power. Keep governance as close to the people as possible.

Re:Technical People (4, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | about 2 months ago | (#47677119)

Sadly this is true, but it shouldn't be. Technical people should have the professionalism to analyse requirements and check that the requirements fit the purpose.

Most I know do. The problem is that they're not sufficiently expert in the domain (in this case, health care) to determine the purpose, and the purpose the client gave them is wrong.

Specs aren't just some bureaucratic hoop that needs to be jumped through to get a developer to sit down and code, and they're not something a developer can just wing, and get right anyway, because they already knew what they were and were just being anal about getting you to write down.

They are important, and if they're not done properly, the dev will likely spend a lot of time doing the wrong thing correctly, and you will be billed for it.

Re:Technical People (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47677121)

Unfortunately the way of the world is that technical people would be quickly shuffled out of the way by sales and marketing if they started to reduce revenue by telling a customer what they really wanted instead of what the spec says.

Disclaimer: I'm a software engineering contractor that works on contracts for the federal government.

A solid majority of the contractors (the grunts doing the work) I've worked for/with in my career want to get the job done and do it well. Sales/marketing has a say at contract award and for mods, but during the actual work we rarely, if ever, hear from them or take guidance from them. The people commissioning the work (the government) usually have no clue what they want and, if presented with multiple solutions of varying risk and value, they still have no idea how to make a decision. The most altruistic contractor still, at the end of the day, needs to know loosely what the success criteria are...the government half the time has vehement disagreement about that among themselves and never comes to a unified decision.

The GAO's report is exemplar of what I've experienced...the government has no clue what requirements are or should be, how to execute, how to manage a contract. My contracts have routinely consisted of us contractors drafting requirements and handing them over to the government, only to have them ask us if they were sufficient and would accomplish the (loosely defined) task, then sign them, hand them off to contracts and they appear on our desk weeks down the line modified by contracts to be 1) more generic, or 2) incorrect. The government oversight at the program manager level is almost entirely a rubber stamping process.

Re:Technical People (1)

JWW (79176) | about 2 months ago | (#47677647)

The GAO's report is exemplar of what I've experienced...the government has no clue what requirements are or should be, how to execute, how to manage a contract. My contracts have routinely consisted of us contractors drafting requirements and handing them over to the government, only to have them ask us if they were sufficient and would accomplish the (loosely defined) task, then sign them, hand them off to contracts and they appear on our desk weeks down the line modified by contracts to be 1) more generic, or 2) incorrect. The government oversight at the program manager level is almost entirely a rubber stamping process.

Exactly. But what I love most about the study is how this ineffective oversight will be solved by ..... MORE oversight!

Re:Technical People (2)

Wycliffe (116160) | about 2 months ago | (#47677335)

Sadly this is true, but it shouldn't be. Technical people should have the professionalism to analyse requirements and check that the requirements fit the purpose.

I have a friend who bids government contracts (highways,schools,sewage plants,etc).
He says that there is no advantage to fix the contract before the bid because then all the other bidders get those same cost savings.
Also, you also can't have multiple people bidding and making suggestions on what to change as then you have no way of comparing the resulting bids.
Likewise, after the bid, you can tell them how to fix it but then you're fighting an uphill battle because you're basically trying to change the contract at that point.
So it isn't really about professionalism and taking the higher ground but more an effect of the entire bidding process.

Re:Technical People (3, Interesting)

BringsApples (3418089) | about 2 months ago | (#47676895)

Dunno man, I feel what you're saying, and agree. However, a quick look at the site will prove that there's more than just milking a cash-cow going on here. If you check out this page [healthcare.gov] for instance, you'll find that there isn't any information regarding anything at all, just a bunch of random Latin.

Google translate thinks it's English, but it's Latin. Here's what I found it to mean:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet pretty easy. Unfortunately, lots of orange gear, but every time a commercial truck.
Gets certain warm-up is a lot of life from which the film's style is. I'd now look at a wide range of law enforcement.
Residents drink
Currently, my, lump in the throat, it's the sauce.
To learn how Warren financing, but the emotional temperature, the element of surprise.
Tomorrow protein recipes. He was smart, maybe he was always in need of a lake in Japan.
No matter who or how inexpensive and easy-to-time only. In order that on Monday, but the laughter of a wide range of airline, travel agency employee is the ugly, and not before or it's just the likelihood of the company. In fact, it has been said it is in the interests of the quiver.
Unfortunately, the keyboard of the United States in the very soft impact.

So it looks like this page, a page that many would go to looking for advice on what to do since no doctors take medicaid now (Many are no longer accepting obamacare at all), is left blank (feeling that perhaps what's there is some default junk included with whatever web-hosting software they use). Seems like someone would have done something to fix this by now.

Re:Technical People (4, Informative)

oneandoneis2 (777721) | about 2 months ago | (#47677123)

"Lorem ipsum" is industry standard "filler" text for incomplete web pages - typically used to show clients what a page will look like when it has some useful content.

Not that it isn't appalling that it's appearing on a page in production, but it isn't "random Latin" - there are even browser extensions to make it easy to C&P for you.

Re:Technical People (1)

The Grassy Knoll (112931) | about 2 months ago | (#47677507)

"Lorem ipsum" is industry standard "filler" text for incomplete web pages

But it never occurred to me to pop it into Google Translate! Many thanks, BringsApples!

Re:Technical People (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about 2 months ago | (#47678509)

Not that it isn't appalling that it's appearing on a page in production ...

Well the site is not complete, its still under heavy development. Remember that the only part that got "finished" was the sign-up portion.

Re: Technical People (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 2 months ago | (#47677145)

By obama care do you mean private health plans ?

Re: Technical People (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47678339)

They mean government meddling in healthcare.

Re:Technical People (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 2 months ago | (#47677901)

Page has been taken down.

Re:Technical People (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47676973)

Note however there is one very important point missed in all the rhetoric... That of changing specification coupled with muddied/stratified change management. This issue sits squarely on CMSs shoulders and is absolute poison to any IT project of any significance...

It was the politicians more than CMS ... (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about 2 months ago | (#47678627)

Note however there is one very important point missed in all the rhetoric... That of changing specification coupled with muddied/stratified change management. This issue sits squarely on CMSs shoulders and is absolute poison to any IT project of any significance...

It was the politicians more than CMS. Not that CMS didn't have its share of problem generation but folks in the administration doing political recalculations on what the user interface and functionality should be like probably made this problem far worse than your normal federal project.

Wasn't there some last minute change ordered by the administration not to show the unsubsidized policy price, so now the site had to integrate with various other agencies and exchange a lot of personal information to calculate an accurate subsidized price? Note that the subsidized price is absolutely unnecessary for comparison shopping. A person's subsidy is a constant, it does not change the price difference between policy A and policy B. If A cost $X more than B before subsidy it will still cost $X more after subsidy. It was purely a politically motivated change to avoid sticker shock on pricing.

Also: Scope creep is a killer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47677029)

Scope creep/requirements instability are the root cause of nearly every failed contract I've seen.

Whenever a government contract fails, the public always blames the contractor, but if you look a little closer, there's almost always a significant customer role in the failure.

See VH-71: Within days of contract award, the White House pushed the Navy to add a bunch of new requirements. Pretty much, "We can't tell you why these are needed, but trust us, they're needed or THE TERRORISTS WILL WIN!" - This was the Bush-era White House, and that administration pretty much got anything they wanted with the "OR THE TERRORISTS WILL WIN!" argument. Lockheed was on time and within budget for Increment 1 (which was being built to the original contract requirements) but Increment 2 was becoming a massively overpriced flying tank due to scope creep/requirements instability and that killed the entire program.

See JSF: A major cause of issues on that program has been prioritizing the Marine STOVL variant over the others, even though that should be the LAST one due to it being the most complex/highest-risk variant.

Re:Technical People (2)

trout007 (975317) | about 2 months ago | (#47677163)

Part of the problem is because of how contracts are awarded. A business is allowed to use their brains and not go with the low bidder because they obviously don't understand the job or have a history of being a pain to work with. The government is not allowed to do this. They have to write a perfect requirements document and put out an open request for bids. If anything in the requirements document is not perfect the contractor is legally allowed to mess it up on purpose and charge for fixing it. This type of behavior doesn't happen as often in the private sector because those firms get a bad reputation and go out of business.

Re:Technical People (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47677221)

It isn't just the abuse from consultants and contractors, which don't get me wrong is huge, it is the culture.

In government you have political masters. They issue the orders from on high, and they go down the chain of yes men, that assure everyone above them that everything is fantastic and yes we would love to do whatever their bidding is (no matter how wrong or idiotic it may be). They will promise stupid time lines, based on ??? nothing really other than maybe fiscal timetable. Features? Well we can do everything! You want totally conflicting features, we will find a way! All this slurry of shit eventually slides it's way down to the peons who actually have to do the work, and somehow find a way to put it all together. Then every now and then, change requests will come altering something fundamental without regard for cost or timetable.

Currently working on a project where they want us to assume certain technological features will be available when currently they don't even exist, and may never exist if they fail to create the technology, or it is delayed, or they run out of money, or decide not to do it, etc... Scope is basically nebulous as everything and nothing is in scope. Whole pieces are missing, just assume that it will eventually get done in the future. Details? Oh we have none, we are still figuring that out. Legal authority, oh well we are still waiting for that to be figured out. Policy, or those changes are coming soon... You just finish your automation and we'll figure all the details out later or as we go... If stuff doesn't end up being ready on time for technology or decisions and the like, well we'll just set up a non-automated manual process to handle it in the interim, we must push forward! You know all those fun programming ideas of things like Waterfall, or RAD, or whatever... well throw all that stuff out the window, and lets do everything all at the same time for a huge project and see what happens! What could possibly go wrong? Oh and UAT? Yeah we are going to have to get random project team members to do it over a couple of days because we have to go live by that date...

So no, do not blame the technical people. Their choices are do the above mess, or find employment elsewhere. Trying to explain up the ladder that perhaps it should be done in a different manner is futile, and a good way to brand yourself a negative Nancy and limit your advancement prospects. I have been that guy. You accomplish nothing but get targeted by the ire of management, who will find some new guy who says yes to everything they say.

On top of that (though not relevant to the Obama example), a year or two into a large project, your political masters change, and kill the entire project, or change the requirements enough so that you might as well start over again. While few there are plenty of talented technical people in government, who would love to do good work, they are not always in a good environment to be able to do so however.

Re:Technical People (1)

sunking2 (521698) | about 2 months ago | (#47677491)

Oh please. It's just another example of fleecing a government contract. This one being a no brainer to do on given it's importance.

Re:Technical People (1)

bitingduck (810730) | about 2 months ago | (#47677713)

Non technical people are not competent to commission technical work from technical people.

If you (as a government or large company) don't have your own technical people on staff to oversee the process and comprehend or write the specs, you're doomed. The contractors know well how to milk a cash cow, simply by adhering to the specs written by people who don't understand how to write specs.

This is a part of why the government created Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs). DOE created them during WWII because they saw a need for an organization that had more flexibility than the government (they're all privately operated) but would act as an expert exclusively on behalf of the gov't. They get their money entirely from a single agency and most do a combination of direct work ("we'll do it in house") to main expertise and procurement ("we'll spread it around"), recognizing that to be good buyers they need to have a good deal of internal expertise. Most of the FFRDCs are run by DOE (they started as the weapons labs and science centers to develop knowledge of elementary physics for weapons research), but many agencies have them. It's probably time to create one for government software development, or assign is as a role to a few existing ones.

Re:Technical People (1)

Cludge (981852) | about 2 months ago | (#47677881)

This is a nice way of saying that the governing bodies of many large organizations are staffed by idiots. I recently did technical work in Asia, as a contractor for a well-known company with a global presence. They've been in business for more than 100 years. They have a beautiful website, filled with inspiring photos and pages and pages of uplifting copy, talking about their important altruistic mission. So I naively thought they would be experts at their core work. What I discovered was a company run by greed-driven overlords at the top, and clueless staff at almost every other level. Technical proficiency was clearly not an valued commodity -- it was all about maintaining the facade of being the good guys, saving the world. I was shocked by how much they relied on boiler plate to write nearly every document, and the serious lack of technical skills necessary to do their job. The few technically competent people were marginalized, while the loud, pushy "A" types in charge of daily operations mainly worked at protecting their own status in the company. What was truly sad to see: how the recent graduates, hired to do the core tasks, had their enthusiasm and can-do attitudes suck out of them by the continuous stream of obfuscation, redirection, and soul crushing obliviousness. I guess some things never change.

Technical People (1)

cshamis (854596) | about 2 months ago | (#47678121)

Normally, in order to solicit a project of any appreciable size, (over 100K) the government is required to produce a detailed SOW (Statement of Work) that defines the scope and goals. As projects get bigger (over 100M) the SOW begins to get more and more generic, but the accompaning Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) gets more detailed, and much much longer (five, six, sometimes as deep as eight or nine sub-sections) Each sub-section may generate dozens of Task Orders (TOs). Task Orders are what get assigned to contractors to work. If the upper document is vauge, or poorly thought out, or poorly defined, then the individual TO may be nonsensical.

Okay... so who is writing this nonsense? Well, the Government can't have the contractors who will be doing the work come up with the work they will do. (That's putting a fox in the henhouse.) So the Government will sometimes turn to a special type of contractor called a SETA (Scientific Engineering Technical Adisor) or FFRDC employee (Federally Funded Resarch Development Center) to develop the approach and SOW, WBS, and sometimes even write the TO. A SETA or FFRDC is specially recognised in that, they (and their respective employer) are expressly forbidden from bidding on or performing work on ANY project for which they have acted as a SETA or FFRDC. It's a classic case of conflict of interest. And, usually these guys are pretty good. There was no SETA or for the Healthcare.gov website. It wasn't considered a "technical" project (like building a moon-lander) so... that was probably the first mistake.

The second mistake is that the people in Government who normally get tasked with writing the RFPs SOWs and evaulating them are usually the same people who aren't um... "smart enough" to figure out how to get out of it. (LIke the jury-duty joke) They's also the same folks who get tasked with evaulating the proposals that come back... again... not the sharpest tools in the shed. So... there's plenty of blame to go round.

The absense of personal accountability in Government encourages irresponsible behavior. But, too much accountability encourages paralysis. (I'm not signing off on that!) So until we figure out how to fix that too... well... this is just going to keep happening.

in other words (4, Interesting)

ganjadude (952775) | about 2 months ago | (#47676755)

it was a giant clusterfuck like many people on both the left and right were claiming way before launch. the site was NOT ready for prime time (the back end still is not 100%) and it never should have been launched when it was.

also, water is wet

Re:in other words (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47676905)

I agree. The launch was also rushed to meet dealines brinkmanship imposed by Congress.

Congress has done everything in their power -and still trying - to tank the ACA. While that was going, implementation was rushed.

The TeaParty is mostly to blame. They, led by Ted Cruz, told the Democrats that unless they cut funding for the ACA, Ted and gang would force the shutdown of the government.

The Dems not wanting to be blackmailed again (the cowards learned their lesson the first time), said let's talk and when Ted said no, Our way or shutdown. Then the dems said, OK, go for it.

Ted Cruz, after giving the ultimatum to the Dems, then went to the media and lied and said the Dems wouldn't talk.

Utter Bullshit!

Fox News' liar pundits (Hannity, O'Reilly, and all those ex-strippers with their cleveage, hooker heels and slit skirts [yep, I watch!], etc ...) - I saw them - kept repeating the lie to the point where it became truth among most of their viewers.
 

Re:in other words (5, Interesting)

ganjadude (952775) | about 2 months ago | (#47677059)

congress tried to delay it before the government shutdown remember? obama would not budge, causing the government shutdown.

after the shutdown the site launched, and as expected obama changed his mind and delayed implementation anyway

so the reason for the shutdown was that the democrats did not want a delay and wouldnt budge. then when the site launches and makes them look bad, the implement the delay anyway... yet they still blame congress for the shutdown. and based on your comment it seems some americans are still dumb enough to believe it

Re:in other words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47678065)

"congress tried to delay it before the government shutdown remember? obama would not budge, causing the government shutdown."

Well, one could say Congress didn't budge (rather than Obama). Also you need to be more specific on what "didn't budge" means. In this case it means providing the necessary support for a new law.

The fact that Obama delayed implementation was merely incidental due to a rushed implementation, not some "proof" that Congress was "correct" (as you imply).

Re:in other words (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 2 months ago | (#47678213)

what i mean is that what the republicans were after was a delay to the individual mandate due to the fact that the system was not ready.

obama and the senate dems said too bad we are going to implement it there will be no delay, and thats the end of that.

so in the end the government shut down, obama went out of his way to make it as hard as possible (closing open air memorials like the WW2 memorial for example) and when the government opened back up, the website launched and what does obama do? the exact thing that the republicans asked to happen to avoid the shutdown.

Re:in other words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47678297)

what the truth is, is that what the Republicans were after was canceling Obamacare due to the fact that it's not Republican.

FTFY. You may have meant what you said, but what you meant doesn't reflect reality.

Re:in other words (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 2 months ago | (#47678435)

that might be the end goal, but that was not the goal concerning the govt shutdown. try and keep up my statements reflect reality much better than anything the media is pushing

Re:in other words (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47677103)

Pull your head out of your ass. Seriously. You've got the president going on record of saying he is not going to negotiate and actually claiming he's going to use executive order to bypass the limitations of power spelled out in the constitution during the state of the union, and you've got congress throwing up road blocks to do everything to basically try to stop Obama. I'm going to throw a shocker at you. You might want to sit down for this. I'm a conservative, and I'm happy with congress. The dems in the first two years when they had full control shot out of control. They did whatever they want with the justification of "well, we're the majority, we can do what we want". I'm sorry, that's not how the world works. If you had a 90% majority, then yes, but you don't. You have a 51% or 52% majority. When that's your majority, you need to consider what the other side wants, you don't get your way all the time.

What the dems pulled in the first two years of Obamas presidency set the stage for what's happening now. I voted in people to put the brakes on you guys, and they're doing exactly what I wanted them to. How about this, how about you sit back and say "hey, conservatives, okay, we need to live in this world together, how about we sit down and try to find a solution we can both tolerate". And please note that tolerate doesn't mean like. Remember, we have both parties right now refusing to negotiate. It's not one side or the other. The presidents own words can be quoted to attest to this.

And also note, I'm not claiming conservatives are blameless here either. But you just threw out a load of tripe putting all blame on one side, when both sides stink so bad they should all be thrown in the garbage.

Re:in other words (3, Interesting)

Pascoea (968200) | about 2 months ago | (#47677855)

This whole argument revolves around Obamacare. You can argue its effectiveness till you are blue in the face and never get anywhere. You would be more successful arguing about religion or programming languages.

It boils down to one simple question that you have to get consensus on before you can move forward: Is healthcare a basic human right? I specifically left out words like "affordable" and "quality" because they dilute the conversation. It is simple, if I am sick am I entitled to get better? I would love to hear somebody answer "no" to that question, and offer a reasonable justification without using any terms related to affordability, money, insurance companies, or quality of care.

So, assuming you are all with me on the basic right to healthcare, we dive into the money part of it. Which is what all of the bitching is actually about. Everybody has the right to get well, who pays for it? The current solution is that everybody has to buy health "insurance". If you can't "afford" it the gov't will help you pay for it. This is where the current administration looses me. And since this is Slashdot, why not use a car analogy. The gov't assumes that at some point, everybody in the country is going to have to get from one place to another, so they make it mandatory that everybody must own a vehicle. If you can't afford a car, they will help you buy one. Some people will drive their car every day, some cars will sit in the garage all day every day. Yes, in theory, everybody will be able to get where they need to go when they need to go there. But what about all of the money wasted on the cars sitting around not being driven, where has that gone? You can bet the guys at GM, Ford, Toyota, et al. are happier than pigs in shit. They just broke every sales record they have ever set. That is my frustration with Obamacare, the gov't just handed truck fulls of money to the insurance companies (who have been continuously turning record profits.)

Re:in other words (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47678321)

+5, Insightful. What we wanted was health care what we got was health insurance. Not the same thing.

Re:in other words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47678699)

+5, Insightful. What we wanted was health care what we got was health insurance. Not the same thing.

We do not have health insurance anymore. Insurance is "in case ya...", like in case your house burns down or in case you crash your car. What we have now is completely disjointed from the traditional insurance model. You can now drop your insurance, pay a small "fine/tax/whateverObamacallsit" and then purchase the health plan when you need it and then drop it when you don't, which will completely screw up the entire industry. That's not insurance.

Re:in other words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47678403)

Roads are a better analogy.

Everybody has been granted a road leading to their home. Everybody pays into their costs despite how many car trips they take or how many trips they can afford to take. Sound familiar? Trucks full of money go to construction companies.

Are there minimum standards for roads? You bet. Are there minimum standards for health plans? There are now.

Re: in other words (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47678465)

No. Healthcare is not a right. We all will die eventually and making 'unconditional staying alive' into a "right" denies that reality.

A better way of looking at it is: "how much should somebody be allowed to demand from others for the continued opportunity to stay alive."

Why should healthcare workers essentially be enslaved to pander to someone else's delusions of immortality?

It's a complex matter that doesn't lend itself well to bumper sticker slogans.

Re:in other words (2, Interesting)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 2 months ago | (#47678607)

It boils down to one simple question that you have to get consensus on before you can move forward: Is healthcare a basic human right? I specifically left out words like "affordable" and "quality" because they dilute the conversation. It is simple, if I am sick am I entitled to get better? I would love to hear somebody answer "no" to that question, and offer a reasonable justification without using any terms related to affordability, money, insurance companies, or quality of care.

I'll answer "no" to that question, without using any of the gotcha phrases you are hoping for. I will do so with a thought experiment I entertain myself with when I'm bored. I use variations for different situations, so I'll make one for your 'right to healthcare' scenario.

If you have a small population of people, say 500, and the rest of humanity disappears, what 'rights' do they have? Does one person have the right to live in peace, without one of the other 499 attacking him/her? There is no such right in the natural world where lions attack zebras or hornets attack bears. Do people have that right? Personally I don't believe they do, because that right has to come from something outside of the group of people. Maybe something 'higher than' the people. Yes, religion is basically codified human rights. Without that system, I have no more rights than an antelope or humpback whale. Within that system, I may not have the same rights as others, but most religions cover the fundamental ones of survival. Coincidentally, I am not religious, but I am glad most people are.

So, what rights does a 1-in-500 person have? If they are members of the same US Midwest church (that was saved when the rest of humanity disappeared), they have the rights their religion stipulates. They have no 'Constitutional rights' because the whole government is gone, including enforcement of the Constitution. If they are 500 random people chosen from all the cultures of the world, they will have to decide for themselves what basic rights each person has. And I can guarantee there will not be agreement on even the basics, if they even understand each other enough to argue intelligently, rather than gesticulating and shoving each other.

But for the sake of your question, let's assume the people agree than they have the rights of: not being attacked, non-violent personal belief/religion, privacy, speech, self-defense, healthcare. How are these rights enforced? Most of them are enforced by not attacking someone. Let a person live in peace, let them pray, let them talk, and you've already covered the first four. The fifth is enforced by not punishing someone for fighting off another person who chose to ignore the first right listed.

So that leaves us with the final right the group chose to include. How is 'healthcare' enforced? If there are no doctors/nurses/healers/whatever in the group, they have a real quandary. They have to train someone on healthcare, so that person can then provide it. But how do they train someone in a field none of them know to begin with? They have to have some of the group work towards learning what they know their doctors knew. That's not going to go very well, and will take a long time doing it.

Now let's say that one of the 500 is a general practitioner, and has the knowledge needed to treat common conditions the group will face. What if he doesn't want to do so? If he decides he wants to be alone to contemplate his own beliefs for a while, in light of the disappearance of the rest of humanity, does the rest of the group have the right to force him to be their doctor? If he wants to move away, start a small farm to raise vegetables and forget all his medical knowledge, does the group have the right to force him to train someone as an apprentice/replacement? If he will agree to see some people but not others, for whatever reason, do the others have a right to force him to see them as well? Do they have the right to follow him around begging for his attention? Do they have the right to force him into their hut to care of their ailing mate? If he refuses to do so, and fights his way free of such an action, is he to be punished for hurting the person accosting him?

In response to all those questions, my answer would be that the person with knowledge that may be essential for the survival of the group does not have the obligation to act on or dispense that knowledge. Or, in terms of rights, the group does not have the right to force the (former) doctor to do something he is not willing to do anymore. They don't have the right to violate his rights of not being attacked, personal beliefs, or privacy.

Even if it was myself seeking medical attention for my sick child, I don't have the right to force another person to provide it. Taking that to the next degree, I don't have the right to force others to institute a program that provides it.

So, in conclusion, no I don't think people have a 'right to healthcare'. I believe you and I have the right to provide for ourselves. I don't believe we have the right to force others to provide for us. And it has nothing to do with your gotcha phrases.

Re:in other words (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about 2 months ago | (#47678831)

Obamacare has two sides to it. The yin-yang sides. On the one hand it finally allows low income families, and elderly, to purchase badly needed healthcare, so they don't get bankrupt every time they land in the hospital, or the whole family does not get bankrupt when one of the 10 children gets sick. However, by not doing what the law says, young and healthy people rebelling, and not buying health insurance, they can do OK too. Which is what the whole law was supposed to go after, for the insurance companies. Insurance companies are not interested in the sickly elderly, or huge families who can't afford anything because they are huge families, and somebody inevitably gets sick all the time, because they cannot make money on them, they drag them down from the profit into the loss territory, to bleed red ink and go belly up as an insurance business. What the insurance companies and Obamacare are after is the single, healthy youth, who are profit cash cows, because even if they are sick, they recover fast. The real health issues are with either the very young or very old, as in less than 6 years old, and more than 60 years old, insurance companies want none of those, and even under Obamacare will figure out ways to shed them, or give them the runaround, but they are really interest in earning age, 18+ or 22+ to 35 youth, who even if they get hit by a disease, they bounce back in no time and cost very little. But they have the choice not to buy it anyway, and pay the tax penalty, and if that gets too out of control, don't pay the taxes at all, let alone the tax penalties. The only option then is getting jailed and executed, so what. Give them the finger right before they execute you. Over money.

Re:in other words (1)

Bartles (1198017) | about 2 months ago | (#47678853)

The difference being that the people on the left that recognized it as a giant clusterfuck, still supported it and the politicians that forced it upon us. Authoritarians don't care if their provided services are good or bad.

I'm so glad (2)

sabbede (2678435) | about 2 months ago | (#47676765)

I don't work for a company that made the mistake of getting involved in that nightmare.

Re:I'm so glad (4, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 months ago | (#47676789)

I don't work for a company that made the mistake of getting involved in that nightmare.

I'm pretty sure that a lot of companies are doing just fine out of it - paid to deliver the wrong thing then paid to deliver what the government should have specified in the first place.

Re:I'm so glad (4, Insightful)

StikyPad (445176) | about 2 months ago | (#47676893)

It's actually relatively common for custom software to experience feature and scope creep. The source of creep is split between design by committee and leadership changes. When new leadership comes in, the vision almost always changes, and when new stakeholders are added, they pollute the water with their own special interests.

It's arguably the role of developers (or at least business analysts) to push back against ridiculous requirements, and some do, but they're not properly incentivized, since they work for the contractor. BAs should be working for the government, not the contractors. Ideally, one person with software development design and management experience and a clear vision should be in charge of the project. Unfortunately, it's almost always someone with more generalized management experience who doesn't know the difference between HTML and CSS, and comes up with new "great ideas" on the fly.

At any rate, the problem isn't limited to government software -- I've seen the same thing in commercial business software, especially "customizable" software. I'm looking at you, mortgage and scientific industries. We get a little more upset because we fund government software through taxes -- we feel like it's our money -- but we honestly fund almost all poorly designed software, even if it's rolled into our mortgages. It's just less transparent.

Out of Character for Government? (1, Insightful)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 2 months ago | (#47676775)

A group of master thieves with no conscience,

who are working round the clock to skim money from a project,

are still unable to run up costs like a government project gone off the rails.

Re: Out of Character for Government? (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 2 months ago | (#47676919)

You are giving them way to much credit. Don't attribute to malice which can be easily explained by incompetence.

CYA (1)

orlanz (882574) | about 2 months ago | (#47676785)

Somebody had to take the fall, and I guess they found the one group who didn't do the proper amount of CYA. Actually enumerating the failures and irresponsiblities of the various parties involved from the politicians down to the subcontractors... would have been too much work.

I guess they will just fire 1-2 guys and move the rest to other projects like "Heathcare.gov support" and file this report some where the sun never shines.

Let's be absolutely clear (5, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | about 2 months ago | (#47676805)

The key takeaway from the report is that nobody will be personally held to blame for the incompetence (at best; corruption and nepotism at worst) of the process and end result.

No punishments or consequences, all around!

Re:Let's be absolutely clear (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47676911)

Who are you going to hold responsible?

The White House - at the highest level - was pushing an unrealistic time frame. The President rewarded the policy wonks by letting them be in charge of implementing the project. The House refused to provide funding for implementation.

Not saying it would have worked anyway, but the sources of the problems are in positions that are accountable only on election day.

Re:Let's be absolutely clear (2)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 2 months ago | (#47677091)

The House refused to provide funding for implementation.

...besides the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on it?

what's the difference (1)

Chadster (459808) | about 2 months ago | (#47676811)

between that and most private sector projects?

Except for technical companies, almost every large project during my 30 year IT career had the same issues and reasons for failing.

Re:what's the difference (5, Insightful)

ganjadude (952775) | about 2 months ago | (#47676853)

the difference is that if its a private company doing it, we are not all paying for it. I dont care if a private company wastes a billion dollars, that has nothing to do with me and the rest of america. but when the government does it, it becomes an issue for all of us

Re:what's the difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47678513)

I dont care if a private company wastes a billion dollars, that has nothing to do with me and the rest of america. but when the government does it, it becomes an issue for all of us

If you buy the private company's products and they have ~10 million customers, then it's cost you ~$100* total in higher prices on purchases you made from them. Multiple that by how many companies you buy from that have billion dollar wastes and you end up with a lot of money wasted on pet projects that you paid for by sheer circumstance and for which you're unlikely to (1) change your purchasing habits over (since most people aren't going to choose one brand over another over a penny or a fraction of a penny) and (2) even know about the sheer amount of waste going on (since so many private companies are guilty of it at all levels that near all prices are inflated).

So, yea, it's none of your business that the business you do business with is in the business of wasting money. Magic free money that doesn't indirectly come from you or anything, no sir. Honestly, both government and business waste concerns me. It's just that it's harder to deal with most business waste since competition is not something you can magically create and regulation is often captured or more costly than the initial waste. But at least calling out companies that do waste gives people a chance to at least attempt to "vote with their wallet". Not that that likely will have a noticeable effect any more than complaining about government waste. But, *shrug*.

*Obviously, companies don't shift 100% of the burden to their customers most the time, your actual purchase history determines whether you're closer to the $10 or the $1000 range, and it's possible that like government rounding error (since tax code doesn't specify a 14.257891230740192374987% tax rate and things get rounded to the nearest dollar) the money ends up coming from a general "slush" fund that results from having their product sold at $4.99 instead of $4.9855547294835 (which carries over multiple purchases) and hence the "optimal" price is always rounded up which is where the waste can effectively go unnoticed on the consumer side.

You spend a billion on lorem ipsum? Don't hire you (2)

raymorris (2726007) | about 2 months ago | (#47676999)

> almost every large project during my 30 year IT career had the same issues and reasons for failing

They spent a billion dollars to post lorem ipsum https://www.healthcare.gov/med... [healthcare.gov]

If almost every large project you're involved with is similar, we've learned one thing: Don't hire Chadster!

Re:You spend a billion on lorem ipsum? Don't hire (1)

Chadster (459808) | about 2 months ago | (#47677457)

I am just a technical guy, not the one writing business requirements, doing project management or signing off.

My point was, it is a general problem with how large technical projects are done and most "fail" because of the exact same reasons. This is not intended to start a discussion on techniques/methodologies.

I'm not trying to defend, it's just an observation.

Of course governments should be better at spending public money, but how can they be better when most organizations follow the same patterns and practices.

For the record, I don't work with or for any organization involved with that project.

Many people fail. $billion should hire competence (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 2 months ago | (#47678309)

Sure, many people make the same mistakes. I'd hope that for a BILLION dollars, you could hire a couple of project managers who are actually competent. Plenty of companies have incompetent people, but plenty have lots of competent people who successfully complete projects - Google, eBay, Facebook, and a thousand other companies are competent at large scale IT projects.

If, like most projects, your budget is around $100K, you might end up with some typical incompetents in key positions. For a billion bucks, you should be able to have really, really good people in the key leadership positions making sure the project gets done. Was the person running the healthcare.gov project competent? Nobody was running it! I hope that's not like your typical project, I hope you actually HAVE a project manager at the head of most of your projects.

> Of course governments should be better at spending public money, but how can they be better

#1 Put someone in charge of the project.
#2 Choose someone who has successfully led a large project before.

better summary (5, Insightful)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 months ago | (#47676833)

Don't hire people who have failed multiple projects in the past just because they were friends of the Obama campaign. At least that's what my finding determined.

Re:better summary (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47676861)

or make it easy, dont hire people who support the obama administration

Re:better summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47678625)

I thought that's what he said.

Re:better summary (0, Offtopic)

thrich81 (1357561) | about 2 months ago | (#47676929)

So we would have been better off hiring the friends of the Bush campaign who did such a bang up job of efficient contracting in Iraq?

Re:better summary (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47677161)

Actually, I'm pretty sure we was saying "don't hire somebody who's a friend and instead hire somebody who's competent", but hey, why let the meaning go through when that meaning would stop you from bringing up a president that hasn't been in office for what, almost 6 years now?

Re:better summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47678177)

If they can't just use their power to give their friends cushy jobs, what's even the point?

Why dont we (2)

thaylin (555395) | about 2 months ago | (#47676885)

Put the money for the contract, plus 10% into escrow. Every 10% into the projects completion you get 10% of the money. If you cannot complete it for that price, that is on you, not the tax payers, learn to better account for your work. If you can show that it was due to the government itself then that is what the extra 10% is for, if not and you fail the project we still got that amount of work done and can pass it to the next contractor in the bid to start working on. I am so tired of hearing about these massive cost overruns.

Re:Why dont we (4, Insightful)

ka9dgx (72702) | about 2 months ago | (#47676925)

Because 10% of a working system can't be measured. Even a 100% completed to spec system is worthless until it has actually been used for a while... when it will prove to need about 100% more work.

Most software projects fail, unlike construction, etc... engineering can't be applied.

Re:Why dont we (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 2 months ago | (#47677021)

You can prove that 10% of the feature set is done. when you agree to a contract you agree to a timeline and a feature set.

Re:Why dont we (1)

kellymcdonald78 (2654789) | about 2 months ago | (#47677941)

Said someone who obviously has never worked with government

Re:Why dont we (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | about 2 months ago | (#47677067)

That's pretty much how government contracts work.

It fails because:
1) The customer will change their requirements mid-stream, screwing everything up
2) Even if they don't, in some cases it's discovered once everything is complete that the system which meets all of the customer's requirements is utterly fucking useless in the real world. I believe this was a major role in healthcare.gov's failures - many of its issues were discovered post-launch

Re:Why dont we (1)

kellymcdonald78 (2654789) | about 2 months ago | (#47677929)

Then I hope you enjoy your "sports car" that sits 8, has 5 square wheels, no brakes and a 14 HP engine. Built exactly how the client asked for it. Most government RFPs are terrible, written by people in procurement who have no clue what they're asking for. Rarely is there any kind of defined feature set, or schedule, mostly its just a laundry list of things people raised in a couple of committee meeting, with a date some politician wants it by (usually tied to a campaign promise, or event), and a budget that someone pulled out of thin air.

Did you expect anything else? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47676891)

America hired a man to run the country who never even managed a McDonalds.

Why would they vet their contractors (or contracts) any better?

Re:Did you expect anything else? (1)

thrich81 (1357561) | about 2 months ago | (#47678659)

Well, I've got karma to burn and this AC got modded up to +2 insightful, so look, the argument that the current President and VP have never run/managed "anything" and so are unsuitable for the positions would be valid EXCEPT that the previous President and VP had vast private sector and government managerial experience (or at least they were sold to us that way) and they screwed up running the country at least as badly as the current administration. So, from observation of the actual, real world experiences we've gone through in the last 15 years it would seem to be clear that previous managerial experience has no correlation with good administration of the Executive branch of the US government.

Million Dollar... (2)

johnsnails (1715452) | about 2 months ago | (#47676939)

Any one else think the article might be about a retina version of:
http://www.milliondollarhomepa... [milliondol...mepage.com]

How many millions.... (1)

zoid.com (311775) | about 2 months ago | (#47676971)

How many millions did this investigation and report cost?

Don't Forget the State Websites (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47677013)

Anyone in software would understand the idea of code reuse. Instead the "billion dollar website" was re-implemented at the state level in many locations. Way to go politicians!

Agile? Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47677057)

CMS made many risky decisions in order to meet their goals, such as the use of "cost-plus-fixed-fee" contracts in the bid process and an Agile software development model, which was new to CMS.

As Figure 5 from the study, included below, shows, the Requirements, Analysis and Design stage of the project went from the originally scheduled three months to a year[...]

[... cutting] Operational Readiness Review from seven months to one. Yes, one. They reserved enough testing time to realize just how bad things were, and then they launched anyway.

Let's see...

Big up-front design? Check!

Scope creep driving increased redesign time? Check!

Implementation delays and compresses test phase? Check!

I guess they were using LAFABLE [slashdot.org] as their process.

Repeat! (1)

felixrising (1135205) | about 2 months ago | (#47677099)

Sounds remarkably like the Myki public transport ticketing system with it's associated blow-out to 1.5 Billion dollars https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] Although arguably Myki downgrade from the previous ticketing system. Clearly, planning and careful tendering and contract wording are vital in these big projects to hold the winning contractor to account, no changing contractors half way through or half arsed planning phase. Maybe it's just my thinking as an engineer, but so often these projects take on such a life of their own, what is really needed is a highly skilled and capable small core team of engineers and designers who build a working prototype and are able to make well thought out fast decisions on the move, then once it's been thoroughly tested, the big rollout happens, also with their oversight, you don't need huge numbers of program managers, project managers or project coordinators and nary a MBA should be in sight, you need people with the skills and knowledge to deliver the project, driving it, and only then farm out delegation work to other teams for specific deliverables to realise the bigger project.

Semi-trolling but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47677329)

Oh look, yet another great idea turned to shit with terrible execution. The hallmark of the Obama administration, and sadly the Bush administration too. I really hope this is not a trend with the new generation of politicians on both sides of the aisle.

Re:Semi-trolling but... (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 2 months ago | (#47678647)

It will be. Look ahead to 2016. Who are the front runners? Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney.

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (5, Interesting)

tekrat (242117) | about 2 months ago | (#47677339)

Really, we want to complain about a website that cost a Billion? This is the United States Government, full of waste, fraud, no-bid contracts, and shit spread out out over every state so that ever senator and congressman has his slice of the taxpayer slush fund.

Witness the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, an aircraft nobody needs, trying to fill too many roles, and was supposed to save our armed services money by having one plane replace many planes.

Except it's billions over budget, still doesn't work (and might never work), and is expected to cost more than a Trillion dollars before all is said and done.

Meanwhile the aircraft is being usurped by drones, which are cheaper, easier to deploy, and may fill all the roles we'd ever need this crazy ass jet for. And we're trying so hard to make it stealthy, meanwhile as pointed out in a slashot article a few weeks back, long wave radar will find the plane just fine.

And yet the Pentagon continues to shovel more money into the project because -- guess what, there's no "plan B". This is the people we depend upon to strategize for us in times of war, and they have absolutley no fall-back plan. Brilliant.

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47678153)

why fall back when you are falling all over cash?

Re:F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (1)

david.emery (127135) | about 2 months ago | (#47678285)

...Witness the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, an aircraft nobody needs, trying to fill too many roles, and was supposed to save our armed services money by having one plane replace many planes...

I'm not defending the F-35 (I'm a huge A-10 fan, and 2 F-35s would fund the whole A-10 fleet), but your comment here is self-contradictory. Either we don't need it, OR it's trying to fill too many missions (that do need to be done.)

I think it's the latter, and that's not just requirements creep, but a different phenomenon that is something like "requirements conbinatorics", where too many requirements get loaded onto a system (health care or weapon) and the result is either (a) not buildable as a violation of math or physics or (b) massively complex and therefore massively expensive.

It's a combination of no discipline on the part of the users/managers who develop the specifications or needs statement, and the problem that the number of major system starts (whether DoD or commercial) is limited, so each user/stakeholder needs to get -His/Her Requirement- in place on this system, because they won't have a chance for another 10 years to get that requirement into their/their user's hands.

dave

CMS wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47677375)

CMS bows to congress who bows to the owner of congress = Big Pharma and more xxx.Inc's
who do you suspect issues the orders to CMS? I am very skeptical, to say the least
Probably this project came off just as planned.......

IBM Accenture et al (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47677441)

From the article:

QUOTE

The Accenture contract to take over the FFM development project was a one-year, sole source contract for $91 million for one year, and even that contract has exploded. As of June 5, CMS had obligated more than $175 million to the Accenture FFM contract.

END QUOTE

These contractors are a joke,. IBM has literally billions of failed projects all over America, most of them with some state government, DMVs BMVs etc etc. Look it up. Who is Accenture ? Accenture is Arthur Anderson by another name. Same fucking deregulation seeking, government tit-sucking sociopathic scum , they just changed their fucking name after they blew up America's economy with the Enron debacle in 2000.

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/projectfailures/erp-train-wrecks-failures-and-lawsuits/12055

http://www.businessinsider.com/2009/2/sap-clueless-consultants-from-accenture-and-ibm-giving-us-a-bad-name-sap

http://studentunionofmichigan.wordpress.com/2013/11/20/the-university-of-michigan-accenture-and-shared-servicesast/

These "consulting" companies smell a mega contract with the government and sail into port with slave ships filled with H1Bs with "Learn how To Program in 390 days" tucked into their knapsacks, knowing that the government will be too embarrassed to admit how much it's actually costing as the overruns start piling on. They bill the fuckshit out of the taxpayer and after they have that in their pockets, it all goes to court and the government is left with egg on its face while the filth defend themselves using the government's own money, "settle" the case with non-disparagement clauses everywhere then just roll on to their next "implementation".

http://accentureischeatingonitsclients.blogspot.com/2009/12/three-ways-accenture-is-cheating-on-its.html

http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/article/445543/microsoft_accenture_joint_venture_avanade_sued_over_alleged_erp_project_failure/

http://spectrum.ieee.org/riskfactor/computing/it/bridgestone-sues-ibm-for-fraud-in-600-million-lawsuit-over-failed-it-implementation

Why does anyone hire these fucks in the first place? IBM et. al. should just be banned by law from any more state, local or national contracts and ditto with Accenture. Look it up i you don't believe me. This is the worst of the worst of sociopathic capitalism, right up there with Wall Street's credit default swap and collateralized debt obligation bullshit. This is the fleecing of America by what amounts to organized bands of thugs.

  http://news.techworld.com/applications/3410597/ibm-faces-lawsuit-over-failed-sap-implementation/

http://itknowledgeexchange.techtarget.com/sap-watch/failed-erp-implementation-watch-ibm-named-in-lawsuit/

http://www.eaconsult.com/2013/12/20/with-friends-like-these-uncovering-responsibility-in-avons-rollout-failure/

http://blogs.wsj.com/cio/2013/08/06/pennsylvania-nixing-ibm-tech-contract-running-60m-over-budget/

Until there is repentance... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47677903)

Until President Obama repents of the great sins he supports, including abortion and the homosexual agenda, he will never have success at implementing anything! He has to first start with fixing the areas where he is morally wrong personally before he can successfully implement any scheme as grand as health care reform, because sound-mindedness does not come without a desire to obey the very basic precepts that God has layed out as Law first. And sound-mindedness is a prerequisite to knowing how to properly communicate information behind specifications and following-through with semantics refinement.

But don't take my word for it... you can read it in a book, the King James Version of the Bible. And if you disagree with this, you just take your diagreement to God and see where it gets you! But you have already received the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and are treading dangerous waters if you don't understand the plain truth that sound-mindedness first requires a desire to obey God out of love.

useless website (1)

BradMajors (995624) | about 2 months ago | (#47678689)

The worst part is there is no reason why the Obamacare websites even need to exist.

Obama could have just told everyone to buy their insurance on einsurance.com and to get the subsidies when they filed their 1040.

Fifth Bullet ... (1)

ilparatzo (3627897) | about 2 months ago | (#47678695)

  • The government will continue to operate all future, similar projects in the exact same fashion, regardless of this report.

I'm shocked, SHOCKED... (1)

mi (197448) | about 2 months ago | (#47678817)

I can't be the only one shocked, SHOCKED to discover, the government is inefficient and wastes money. I mean, after the staggering success of everything else it operates — things like US Postal Service [businessinsider.com] or Amtrak [washingtonpost.com] — it is certainly most disappointing to encounter a government program, that fails to live-up to our high expectations.

Nay, this may even chill our collective enthusiasm for making food and shelter a government's responsibility too — you can't be healthy without nutrition and a roof above your head, can you, so it only would've seem natural to further expand the government's omniscient and benevolent control into that direction. But not any more... Not quite...

All Hail Maximum Leader Barack (1)

gelfling (6534) | about 2 months ago | (#47678859)

Another is His infinite string of divine victories. All dissidents are of course racist.

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