My wife was nice enough to share this link to the Gazette’s article about Colorado’s welfare system development effort.
This is a must read and classic example of what not to do. I’m absolutely amazed that a project like this could float under the radar of scrutiny and not get canceled, or the people working on it canceled.
Reading the following link http://www.gazette.com/display.php?sid=1182148 will make you feel much better about ANY project slip or over budget project you have had in a while a long while.
· Project started in 1995 to replace Colorado’s welfare software used by 64 counties
· The project costs an estimated $199 million dollars
· $3.3 million were set aside to train workers Gov. Owens via executive order granted an additional $2 million
· Gov. Owens must be aware of the project then since he granted more money.
· As of now there are 84 workarounds for the systems problems including entering invalid data just to get it to work
· My Favorite: one of the workarounds is 300 pages….
· It was scheduled to go live in 2003 and two delays had pushed the start date
· While its going on 10 years since start of project the damn thing was planned to last 8
After getting over my first reaction that this is just pure insanity – my next rational response is no wonder we can’t seem to find money to pay for things like more technology in education, or no wonder we need a welfare program in the first place.
If I were Gov. Owens what would I do? (Remind me to post my top 10 reasons I’m not in politics sometime!) I would give the project 1 month to resolve workarounds to a manageable set and clearly 300 pages is unbearable and the person who wrote it should be fired on the spot. If reasonable proof that the system is viable let them implement otherwise cancel the project and disband the team except for retain 6-12 domain experts. Simply put if this is a 10 year project, and requires a $200 million dollar budget the problem is not with the software but with the “process” and clearly could be optimized or made more efficient. While I’m far from a domain expert in the welfare process – I can’t imagine the complexity of a realistic welfare system being over a few million dollars to develop. Go outside the government resources and bid the project to be completed in 12 months, with modern tools and techniques this is not impossible.
Do I not understand the complexities?
Any volunteers to bid for the project?
Should state governments have better IT oversight to provide “real world” feedback on their projects?