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posted by girlwhowaspluggedout on Friday March 14 2014, @01:30AM   Printer-friendly
from the lowest-bidders-all-the-way-down dept.

skullz writes:

"I've watched the Affordable Care Act's federal and state website roll-outs with trepidation as one botched IT project crashes and burns after another. As more information is coming out about Minnesota's health insurance exchange, lo and behold, poor communication, lack of fundamentals, and bureaucracy seem to be contributing factors.

From NPR's How A Series Of Mistakes Hobbled Minnesota's Health Exchange we learn that the users were the first to actually test the website:

What Minnesotans did not know is they were testing the site. There wasn't time for consumer testing before the site went live. Michael Krigsman, a consultant who specializes in diagnosing and preventing IT project failures, says testing is key. 'That is so screwed up. You can quote me on that,' he says. 'This is one of these things that's so foundational. It's like why do we need to breathe the air?"

Propublica has another article which covers the health insurance exchanges of Minnesota, Massachusetts, Oregon and Maryland - blue states that support the Affordable Care Act.

Having been on projects with shifting scope, compressed timeframes, and arbitrary milestones I feel for the developers who worked on these websites and am a little depressed that we are still doing this in 2014. When will the managers learn? Or at least listen?"

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 14 2014, @07:26PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 14 2014, @07:26PM (#16585)

    Outsourcing work guarantees you will have no in-house knowledge of anything when it's done. Asking for documentation is never done, and a document is outdated as soon as it's written any way. Hire FTEs who have something to lose if things fail (their job), rather than contractors who only benefit when (not if) things fail. You can argue for clauses in contracts to protect the state, but that never happens in my experience (as both a state FTE and past contractor). If you must outsource, only do it for folks who make no key decisions, like testers or intro code monkies, not decision makers like developer leads, architects, project managers, test managers, etc. Certainly don't go for lowest bidder, at least keep bids secret until the decision, and require second-lowest since all bids are lies any way which is why all contracted-out govt work is so massively over budget.