Government // Leadership
Commentary
1/6/2014
10:30 AM
Linda Cureton
Linda Cureton
Commentary
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
Facebook
RSS
E-Mail

5 Program Management Lessons From HealthCare.gov

Former NASA CIO Linda Cureton offers five ways agencies can manage IT programs more effectively in 2014.

NASA flight director Eugene F. Kranz, at his console on May 30, 1965, in Houston. (NASA Photo)
NASA flight director Eugene F. Kranz, at his console on May 30, 1965, in Houston. (NASA Photo)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
Laurianne
50%
50%
Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
1/6/2014 | 11:56:14 AM
Fighting bureaucracy
"He used bureaucracy to change the bureaucracy that resulted in a much-needed cultural change." That is a trick many private sector IT leaders would like to make use of occasionally, as well. Good to keep in mind when you are banging your head against the wall about bureaucracy.
D. Henschen
50%
50%
D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
1/6/2014 | 12:12:02 PM
ROI measured in politics
The money line here in my book is "In government, the currency by which we measure return-on-investment is politics." Had this been the guiding measurement in the case with Healthcare.gov or Minnesota's MNsure health exchange site, there would have been more testing before these insurance exchange sites were launched. It's early days, so hopefully more customers and competition will lead to lower costs. 
RobPreston
50%
50%
RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
1/6/2014 | 12:47:46 PM
Re: ROI measured in politics
Ah, but didn't a political ROI -- meeting Obamacare deadlines to show that the program was on schedule and on course -- drive both the feds and Minnesota to launch their sites before they were ready?
WKash
50%
50%
WKash,
User Rank: Author
1/6/2014 | 4:12:47 PM
Re: ROI measured in politics
Doug, I agree, Cureton's observation "that the currency by which we measure return-on-investment is politics" is what sets government apart from the private sector, and should have sparked warning flares. My hunch is that a number of folks miscalculated the risk and ROI equation before it was too late.

 
cbabcock
50%
50%
cbabcock,
User Rank: Strategist
1/6/2014 | 8:32:56 PM
Public administration lags
The best program managers for government projects are not going to come from the private sector, contrary to popular belief. We have a two-realm country, with public and private sectors equally important. The HealthCare.gov rollout reflects the fact that for many years the public sector hasn't received the investment, talent and cirtical-minded leadership that it's needed to perform well. The imbalance mayh now have been addressed at HealthCare.gov. It awaits addressing in many other sectors. When you look at the bipartisan leadership that stepped up in this country and in the UK at the outbreak of World War II, it makes our present day efforts look decidedly unheroic.
WKash
50%
50%
WKash,
User Rank: Author
1/7/2014 | 10:33:04 AM
Re: Public administration lags
Charlie, good points. The polarization of American politics, nationally, and increasingly at the state level, between Red and Blue states, makes it so much harder to find workable answers to problems like Health care.  But it's also made it harder to find competent government program managers willing to deal with the political turbulance and the frequent lack of executive and financial support they need to deliver on programs.
Gary_EL
50%
50%
Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
1/7/2014 | 12:12:32 AM
Success and Failure
Yes, failure is always an option. Especially when there isn't enough time, money or staff. And anyone who is put in this position is being set up for failure, unless he or she has set themselves up, by saying that they can do it without knowing or caring about what they're going up against.
David F. Carr
50%
50%
David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
1/8/2014 | 11:14:58 AM
CIO courage
If I'm reading this right, one of the impreratives is for CIOs or project managers to have the courage to stand up and say "no" to unreasonable deadlines and halfbaked plans, making a stink about it if necessary.
BrackishWater
50%
50%
BrackishWater,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/10/2014 | 11:06:19 AM
Re: CIO courage
Unfortunately, that's not how it works. If you "do the right thing" and tell upper management "no", you'll simply be thrown out by the shareholders, replaced with someone who WILL maximize profits for the investors at the expense of everyone down the chain.
2014 US Salary Survey: 10 Stats
2014 US Salary Survey: 10 Stats
InformationWeek surveyed 11,662 IT pros across 30 industries about their pay, benefits, job satisfaction, outsourcing, and more. Some of the results will surprise you.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest September 18, 2014
Enterprise social network success starts and ends with integration. Here's how to finally make collaboration click.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
The weekly wrap-up of the top stories from InformationWeek.com this week.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.