Months after its’ highly anticipated launch date of October 1, 2013, the failures of HealthCare.gov website are still the subject of talk show and late-night hosts alike. We just can’t seem to get enough of the colossal failures surrounding the launch of HealthCare.gov. My colleague Sam Clayton, recently blogged on the subject of electronic health and medical records, foreshadowed many of these problems as a result of a myriad of challenges. [Read Sam Clayton’s Blog] From my point of view, there are a number of lessons we can learn about the value that better project management practices would have had in achieving the desired result in providing health care access to millions of uninsured.
Project management is more than coordinating a program – a set of projects – or executing a project properly. In a larger sense, the discipline of project management, like a science, follows a clearly defined set of processes and relies on a number of tools and techniques to obtain an organization’s desired results. Equally as important to the proper execution of this “science” is the assignment of a project manager to ensure that all of the necessary steps are followed. HealthCare.gov was a monster of a project and there was no single administrator whose full-time job was to manage the project. December 11, 2013 -Information Week posted an article titled, “HealthCare.gov Proves Software Delivery Needs Modernizing,” in which Dave West discusses what he calls “the HealthCare.gov website disaster.” He writes, “In the Affordable Care Act website example, the best result would have come from a project manager viewing the entire software delivery lifecycle and more fully engaging the participating vendors, including the ultimate customer. This feedback would have provided the project owners with better information on which to make decisions…”