Skip to comments.Builders of Obama's health website saw red flags (rewrote code to suit admin change requests)
Posted on 10/22/2013 5:14:01 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
WASHINGTON (AP) Crammed into conference rooms with pizza for dinner, some programmers building the Obama administration's showcase health insurance website were growing increasingly stressed. Some worked past 10 p.m., energy drinks in hand. Others rewrote computer code over and over to meet what they considered last-minute requests for changes from the government or other contractors.
As questions mount over the website's failure, insider interviews and a review of technical specifications by The Associated Press found a mind-numbingly complex system put together by harried programmers who pushed out a final product that congressional investigators said was tested by the government and not private developers with more expertise.
A review of internal architectural diagrams obtained by the AP revealed the system's complexity. Insurance applicants have a host of personal information verified, including income and immigration status. The system connects to other federal computer networks, including ones at the Social Security Administration, IRS, Veterans Administration, Office of Personnel Management and the Peace Corps.
(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...
Red flags in the morning mean weeks of televised congressional hearings , right?
Incompetence you can count on never changing.
Go ahead, America.
Vote Dem again and see what they can come up with next.
If you feeel lucky, that IS.
Well, the Peace Corps is obviously the most important link for health care.
first the media turns
then come the massive CYA by hoardes of minions (this post)
It is unfolding
To justify the CYA, there may be current sabotage as retribution
They were trying to hide the sticker shock for the ones that thought they were going to get a “freebie”.
I don’t see the FBI either, yet.
They’ve always had fun trying to adopt new technologies.. I remember some of their computer fiascos, oh man.
The gang that can’t shoot straight is back.
Whoever ran this thing, did a very very bad job.. almost looks like it was intentional.. nyaaaaah..
nobody could be that vicious or wastrel..
Peace and Heal Well.
The depressing thing about this? Very few will care in a year.
this would make sense. They hire you to do a job, you do it, they change it, and change it, and change it, and change it and change it some more until it doesn’t resemble what you originally made based on what they asked for. Then they blame you for not making what they wanted even though they didn’t really know what they wanted and ask for what you gave them.
My wife has fallen into this “government employee” trap. Asking for one thing, expecting something else all the while having no idea what she was asking for and too stubborn to say so.
The chasm between what is possible, what is desired, what was asked for and what happened is oceanic in size.
A freaking wannabe communist government trying to implement a business application covering virtually all of the American population and one-sixth of one of the world’s largest and most dynamic *cough* free-market economies—against the will of the (formerly) free people. What could possibly go wrong?
Thanks! God bless.
As with all government contracts, they give you so many requirements that many requirements contradict other requirements. As a result your product CANNOT work.
If this were the old Soviet Union those code monkeys would be accused of being Wreckers and sentenced to a beach condo in Siberia. Fortunately this isn’t a police state run by a dictator with complete control of a fawning, lickspittle press...hmm...no wonder they’re looking nervous.
This was not just a website. Any kid can build a website. It is the interfaces, lack of scalability and requirements that did this one in.
I want to personally thank the coders for this cluster!!!
That also describes escalating shipbuilding costs. The Navy contracts a yard to build a DDG then begin changing the specs. When the ship builder adds on the extra cost to make changes or additions the Navy and Congress blame the shipbuilder.
I can't wait to see the people with large piles of signed, "meets spec" forms glued to their butts start answering questions.
I bet there were fat bonus checks all around for "on time delivery", too.
” The system connects to other federal computer networks, including ones at the Social Security Administration, IRS, Veterans Administration, Office of Personnel Management and the Peace Corps.”
A hackers wet dream...
The 0bamacare website is an MONEY PIT like the Navy’s F-35 aircraft. I can’t understand why China hasn’t attacked us yet. We’re paralyzed by CHANGE!
Old IT saying:
Well, you gave me what I asked for, but not what I wanted.
I would have built it much different.
Submit everything on a pdf form.
A day later, you get a new form in the email.
Fill that out. Send it in, done.
Do all the processing in batch. Minimize the online process.
Your health care on ObamaWare. What could go wrong?
>> What could possibly go wrong?
Lol. Cracking me up..
Our presidents first real project. How cute!
Thank god Romney didn’t get elected. This would be working like a clock.
The USPS would love that...
We should be sending the programmers/developers gifts for making this FAIL!
You know, as ditzy as this administration is, with all the
niggardly programming on the Obamacare site and getting pimp
slapped around by Putin and so on, I think the south could
take em. I wonder what the rest of the world thinks? This
has got to be the most feminized wimp of a president to
ever hold office in this country. Not that i really don’t
like the guy, because I really don’t, it’s just that he is
so indefensibly bad. It’s the peter principal applied to
a post turtle. He has risen to the level of eminent disaster.
2,000+ pages of law, plus 30,000 (!) pages of regulations cannot be programmed, period!
“2,000+ pages of law, plus 30,000 (!) pages of regulations cannot be programmed, period!”
Hay Cat. That’s a great point.
If they did not have the time to do it correctly the first time; Where will they find the time the second time around?
Now they bring in their ‘A’ team; what was the first group?
the first group? Collateral damage.
No, but billions of lines of code are going to die trying.
3 guys bidding on a Chicago job. 1st guys price is in budget, but he needs extra time to finish it. 2nd guys timeline is good and his price is in budget. 3rd guys price is 3x as high as the others, and he will need 2 extra years to finish it.
When questioned, the first guy and 2nd guy explain in real terms the details of the contract. When the 3rd guy is asked to explain the exorbitant costs, he says “well, 1 cut for you Alderman, 1 cut for me, and 1 cut to get the job done”.
Guy #3 gets the job of course.
This website thing is nothing more than the Chicago way. Of course Obama care will be put off, there is way too much money to be made from it. It will be just another white elephant that we can’t afford, and more and more white elephants will be coming, thousands of them, to be sure.
Every dem operative and supporter will be milking this for decades, if not longer (and I suspect many in the GOPe as well). At every twist and turn, someone will be making money to “correct problems”, and no matter what, conservatives will be blamed for not funding what is needed to give America the worlds greatest health care system in the universe.
But then there would not be so much time to pick through your hard drive while you are there....
Toward the end of 2009, I was hired to be a GS manager for a government agency (defense-related). Three of the four members of the office had suddenly left, and there was some hinted turmoil as I walked into the job.
My job was to clean up a million-dollar renovation project. I won’t go into the vast details of the mess....but the general issue I came to after four weeks of review (figuring how to restart the project and complete it)...was that the director and staff were continually changing the requirements after we’d noted the requirement and budgeted the project. We were three months behind, and had wasted a quarter of the budget already by redoing portions of completed work.
I simply sat there at every subsequent meeting and refused to change anything. It was....as is. There was arguments, but in the end....nothing else changed, and a year later, we completed all of the projects.
The thing about project management...you lean toward thinking over the completed image...write the requirements...and double-check it before you budget the money and sign contracts. After that point....unless a wall fails, a pipe bursts, or termites are discovered...you don’t change nothing and complete everything as-is.
I will also offer this wisdom in life...when you sign on to build yourself a house....you do the same strategy...no changes in the scheme of the house or redesigns in the middle of the construction.
People need to think long-term and know the consequences of continual changes. Nothing is free, and once you squander your budget....you are screwed. In this case....$400 million is gone, with nothing to show for it. I’d personally fire the IT manager and project manager over this database platform. Neither are competent to withstand pressure from above, and neither did their job.
Note: I quit the gov’t job at the end of June because of continued incompetence that I saw within the government. Between that and sequestration...it’s a ship run by a bunch of fools...bound and determined to hit some iceberg. Nobody can practice budget control and project management.
They can’t do market-based human resourcing either. If you bid out a contract to lowest bidder, then the high skilled workers don’t apply or incumbents flee when they cut their pay! DUH! That’s a big reason the gubmint is FUBAR.
That’s why tech employers prefer inexperienced developers !
You know the entire game is screwed up when there are “open seasons” and “closed seasons” for any changes in enrollment.
I generally agree with your assessment in Construction project management as it takes as much time to change the scope of work in a change or mod to the contract as it takes to write a new contract. Those scoping the work need to focus on usably complete finite projects instead of fixing everything as it comes along.
The healthcare industry is much more complicated.
It has at least 7 major components, in which the primary transaction parties never really complete their transactions between themselves, i.e. Dr and Patient.
Dr gets paid by the Drs Group, which authorizes a Pharmacy and Lab to work, who bill both the patient and the insurance company and the Drs Group pays to a Hospital for space and services and requires their records from Admissions, Emergency Rooms, and secondary labs and Pharmacies.
Some people think a single payer system will solve many problems, except it builds in bureaucracy where the model is overly complex already because everybody wants to be in charge of a larger system helping everybody.
Here is what is funny about the model.
It boils down to the patient and the doctor. You can double the salary of the Dr and not change the cost of healthcare by even 1%. Generally speaking, the Patient never directly pays the doctor. Many Doctor’s offices treat copays like petticash for the receptionist’s slush fund.
Each of the above entities operate and may be modeled, luckily in one relational database. Grouping them together, you need to migrate about 7 RDBMS into one system, which takes about 6mo to 5 years and half a mil in effort per hospital in a regional area, say a municipality or about the size of a county, say about 1 mil people.
These projects are not scalable.
Working in parallel, you might be able to get the entire nation working in parallel in about a decade as a goal, but realistically, you will have pockets of gross impropriety to complexity scattered on a national map, looking somewhat like election results.
It would be easier to purge all healthcare from the US, begin with a Doctor’s Corps, and start from the bottom up, than to implement the beast they seek to tangle. (no I don;t favor that approach,...govt needs to stay out of it, or confine themselves to a small part of the market,...like say,...Oh, Medicaid and Medicare.)
Lol, I did a WTF when I read that too.
From concept to design to development to construction/manufacturing, the cost of a change goes up 10x with each life cycle state.
That they kept changing it in development and construction/manufacturing is poor change management and poor management overall.
I work at NASA DC, I can’t tell you how many times the engineers there had to redesign the Space Station becuase of budget and requirement changes. We spent way more and got way less because of that.
I was thinking something very similar. Auto insurance, fill out a form and then check your email. Insurer that what your business will respond to the email address you left. Simple and effective. Now, the back end that allows insures to check you eligibility would still have to be built, but that would not be to difficult to build. I could bring in such a system for way less the 640 million. lol.