Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Health Care Portal: No amount of great Project Management could save this project

I am heading to Philidephia to go to a promising summit of Digital Project Managers. I am excite at meeting other PM professionals and expect I have much to learn.

While I was getting ready I cruised the NY Times and read the article about the failure of the Health Exchange Portals.

The tone of the article is trying to be even handed about the failures, but all I see are the elements of a nightmare project which was designed to fail.

Let me start by saying that I have NO knowledge other than what is reported in this article. I don't know anyone who has or is working on the sites.

No capacity to bend:
One thing I look for in a project is where things can bend.  Is it the date? or the money? or the requirements?  This one looks like all three were fixed.  Oct 1 was the president's promise, it's the government, so the money is non-negotiable and apparently the requirements were fixed too. 

Oh and "failure is not an option".  When I have heard that phrase in the past it's was practically a promise that it is going to fail.   Saying "failure is not an option" means that you have no plan on how to fail gracefully. 

Requirements delivered late:
There is some room to breathe if you start early and get some things done even when the client is wishy washy about how things will work.  When the client doesn't know what they want and then pushes the deadline in delivering the requirements, there goes the team's ability to work smartly.

Complicated system:
Looking at the graphic, the system they were building was wildly complicated.  Verification from social security, VA and many other government organizations.  I am guessing they didn't all have super great APIs which were easy to access and use.  This is a huge issue.

Many, many parties to coordinate:
55 contractors!  Holy cow!  No wonder they are all saying "my stuff works, not it!"

Stakeholder Bombs:
I have seen last minute "requirements" added to the success criteria from busy executives who want to make sure one more thing is highlighted or maybe even that they put their mark on it.  I have never had stakeholders who are actively working against the product and hoping to make it fail.  I am sure there were some doozy requirements in there that were impossible to accomplish, but required tact and political navigation to even avoid.

Inexperienced General Contractor:
Like anything that is hard, complicated, and high stakes you want to have the best possible group coordinating all of these moving parts.  So they picked a group who had no experience in large system delivery.

Given these project parameters, I am SURE that the team involved in this project are superheroes who performed real miracles to get a system up at all by Oct 1.  More miracles will be performed in the next few weeks to recover and get it going, and I feel confident they will given the incredible smarts, tenacity and commitment I see in the software industry.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Joe's 100 excuses

1. My dog ate my homework
2. I flushed it down the toilet
3. I dropped it in the creek
4. I dropped it off a boat
5. I dropped it in a lake
6. My cat bit it
7. My cat ripped it
8. My mom cooked it for dinner
9. Because the sky was blue
10. Because the sky was falling
11. My dad made me do a book report instead
12. I had to fight off an alien invasion
13. I had to fight off Darth Vader instead
14. I was on vacation
15. I made dinner instead
16. I took too long tying my shoe laces
17. The TV did not let me leave
18. I took too long making breakfast
19. Because my homework did not exist
20. I was hibernating
21. The gorilla wouldn’t let me
22. Because the Longhorns lost!
23. Because the Longhorns won!
24. Because Sponge Bob was on
25. It as a snowstorm
26. It was winter break…
27. Or summer break…
28. Or spring break… I forget
29. I was having a bad hair day
30. 7 at 9
31. The electricity was out
32. It wasn’t my turn
33. I could not find a pencil
34. I did it, but I was robbed at gun point
35. I had to clip my toenails
36. I lost an eyelash
37. Because I have to have lunch
38. The batteries were dead in my pencil
39. Because Windows crashed
40. ‘cause we’re just kids
41. I can’t read things printed in balck
42. I am color blind
43. Hammy made a nest out of it
44. I was allergic to my homework
45. Porque No hablo ingles
46. I built a rocket
47. I had to do a book report
48. I went on a campout
49. My throat hurt
50. Because the globe got hot
51. Because I went to see a basketball game
52. Somebody pulled a prank on me
53. My cat ate my homework
54. My homework flew away
55. My TV would not let me go!
56. I could not find my shoes
57. My mom made me cookies
58. I was watching the Harlem Globetrotters
59. I was playing with the Longhorns
60. My mom was hammering too loud
61. Hermione put the petrifying curse on me
62. A T-Rex ate it
63. I had to re-cover the couch
64. I had to recover the ottoman
65. I had to go to soccer
66. I got the Lego Death Star set
67. It was too hard
68. The light bulb burned out
69. Because it was raining
70. It was my birthday
71. My homework ate itself
72. My homework ate me
73. I ate my homework
74. A meteor hit it
75. I was stuck in traffic
76. I miscounted
77. I can’t remember
78. I got lost in time
79. My glasses were fogged up
80. I could not find my glasses
81. I had to think up an excuse
82. Because it was a dessert night
83. I had to build my Pinewood Derby Car
84. I got lost in time
85. I was playing with my Legos
86. It was Sunday
87. It was Saturday
88. Mom burned our dinner (literally)
89. There was not any cell phone service
90. I ran out of gas
91. I did the wrong side of my homework
92. I left my homework at ChildCraft
93. I left my homework at school
94. I had to fight off an alien invasion
95. Aliens took my homework
96. I had to go on a road trip
97. I hit my funny bone
98. I had the hiccups
99. Because it was the 100th day of school
100. My mom made me write 100 excuses

Sunday, August 23, 2009

July 18

While not much else other than driving and getting home happened today, it was nice to spend the day with my favorite boys.

This trip was really, really fantastic. While there were some trying moments when I wanted to become a childless person again, I got over it and in hindsight, had a really wonderful time.

I was really scared about driving all that way by myself (ok, only one way completely by myself), with the kids, for three weeks. But everything worked out wonderfully.

Now we are back in Austin, have our new house and school starts on Monday (Today is Sunday, Aug 23rd). We have already made new friends on our block and the kids are super excited about school.

July 17

While we had three days to get back to Austin, we decided that everyone was tired of being in the car and there wasn't that much to see on the way back, so we put it in gear and (Ryan) drove like hell to get home.

We did manage to see a very cool Volcano in northern New Mexico. Capulin Volcano. You drive all way up to the top and then you can walk down into the cinder cone. Very cool, except for some crazy swarm of bugs which apparently really like white shirts. I found them for the next 2 days in the car!

We stopped in Lubbock and stayed at the only hotel with a room. Apparently there was a softball championship going on, so everything was booked. We got in pretty late and just beat a thunderstorm before crashing for the night.

July 16

We swapped co-pilots today.

First thing in the morning we drove Mom to the airport and dropped her off for a flight back to Calgary and we picked Ryan up.

The rest of the day we drove around Denver and visited old favorite spots.

We headed to the zoo for a quick visit (including Tropical Discovery, the kids' favorite).

Next downtown for lunch and a quick visit of the Judge's chambers where Ryan worked.

We got to see Nic Heinke outside the other courthouse where he works for a quick visit.

A trip to the new pool in Stapleton.

Then finally dinner with Diane at La Cueva.

So much fun to see everyone. I love Denver.

July 15

Today was mostly spent in the car. Wyoming is very boring between the beautiful mountains and the Colorado border.

On the plus side, we closed on the house today! Ryan had to sign everything 4 times (Ryan Bates and Ryan Bates for Susan Bates, attorney in fact), but now we own a house! Woo Hoo!

We finished the day in Denver and drove around the old stomping grounds of Stapleton. It was nice to see the old place again, although Pete was very sad to have missed his friend George (who was at Disney that week).