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Oracle Fires Back: Oregon Obamacare Exchange
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prospecttoreza
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prospecttoreza,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/18/2014 | 1:06:29 PM
Re: Put yourself in Oracle's shoes
Oracle signed a contract that it knew from the get go will flop. An Oracle consultant gets paid by an hour, and codes what it is told to. Oracle's management did read the contract, and knew what they are getting into - they are getting compensated for being yelled at. I feel bad for the Oregon citizens who had to shoulder the costs.
bwalker970
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bwalker970,
User Rank: Strategist
8/12/2014 | 6:24:28 PM
Re: Put yourself in Oracle's shoes
It will be interesting to see how this shakes out.  The project management problems they describe are not uncommon in eiither government work or private industry.  Bad projects exist everywhere and there is plenty of blame to go around.  The state can be cited for naively thinking that it had enough experience to take on the management of such a large technical project and for grossly underestimating the size of that project.  However, Oracle should have had the experience to know better and to push back when they saw the project going badly.  Shifting requirements are the canary in the coal mine of project management so when did Oracle's employees raise the alarm?  If the state's employees were exhibiting lax change control, why did Oracle's employees go along with it?  Did anyone at Oracle realize that their reputation was on the line even if they were not held legally liable for the results?  Oracle only has itself to blame if they negotiated away their ability to control the work and then failed to live up to the contract that they actually signed.  
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
8/12/2014 | 5:35:30 PM
Re: Why so many different portals to solve the same end goal?
Yes, one big debacle with Healthcare.gov -- but I guess that was finally resolved, more or less (although I haven't heard anything particularly reassuring about security) -- would have been more than enough! The answer, I think, lies in the political hash surrounding Obamacare and the related technologies. Since states have a big say in how to participate, it's not too surprising that some chose to fly solo for whatever reason. It would, however, have been much more efficient to design one national system from a technical and admin POV. 
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
8/12/2014 | 5:33:10 PM
Re: And politicians wonder ...
That's true: Government employees and elected officials don't own finger-pointing! I feel badly for Oracle, too, although each time one of these stories comes up -- about huge, expensive tech implementations without an assigned integrator to lead the project -- I wonder how neither Oracle nor Oregon figured that out at the beginning. I guess the allure of the contract was too big, but entering into this kind of pact without taking on the integrator role seems fated for failure. 
Todder
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Todder,
User Rank: Moderator
8/12/2014 | 2:39:29 PM
Why so many different portals to solve the same end goal?
Seems to me there's better economy of scale if State's used a common tool set versus customizing their own solutions. The entire roll-out was and still is kinda goofy, but from a planning, engineering, and implementation perspective this whole episode doesn't make anybody feel good about how tax dollars are spent.
pdembry950
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pdembry950,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/12/2014 | 12:54:36 PM
Rodney? Rocky? Which one is it?
Who exactly was the executive directory, Rodney King or Rocky King?
majenkins
IW Pick
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majenkins,
User Rank: Ninja
8/12/2014 | 12:02:47 PM
Re: And politicians wonder ...
I have spent more time in private industry than in governement work and it can get just as bad in the private sector. Plus dodging blame and scoring points is not restrictied to politicians. Or maybe it is better to say that not all politicians work in the public sector.
majenkins
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majenkins,
User Rank: Ninja
8/12/2014 | 11:58:28 AM
Re: Put yourself in Oracle's shoes
In any big project there is going to be some of this type of thing going on. And in the end both sides are always going to say the things the other side was doing were what really caused the failure. If it was as bad as Oracle claims then as someone said below they should have raised more red flags with more higher up stake holders and or "Got out of Dodge". Of course getting out of Dodge means you won't get paid.
Somedude8
IW Pick
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Somedude8,
User Rank: Ninja
8/12/2014 | 10:31:47 AM
But, I love to hate Oracle
I LOVE to hate Oracle! But Shifting Sands requirments definitely striked a chord with me. Seen it too many times, from tiny projects to massive. One of the skills that has come with time, experience and age is knowing when to start throwing red flags in front of stakeholders, and when to throw a white flag and get out of Dodge. Sure glad I wasn't involved in that project!
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
8/11/2014 | 4:34:37 PM
Re: Put yourself in Oracle's shoes
David, Definitely. The point about working without a blueprint is valid. Makes one sympathetic to the concept that IT as a discipline needs to mature to the level of civil or electrical engineering. Imagine if this level of disfunction went on in bridge construction? And the state could probably have built several bridges with what this fiasco cost.
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