Understanding the US government's dismal IT project track record

by
in legal on (#VZGD)
A lot of times the systems are politically mandated in the sense that you have somebody on the Hill or Congress who will mandate a system and they'll mandate a particular period of time and they'll mandate the amount of money to spend and they have absolutely no idea what they're talking about. So what happens is, if you're there as a government person, you’re trying to translate some political wish into something that's topical and it’s not very easy,” Bob Charette says. Another problem is that there isn’t much accountability when it comes to projects that fail.

One infamous example of government failure is the system that handles disability claims for Social Security. In the early 2000s, Congress spent money to try and reduce the massive backlog in claim processing that had built up. The backlog, however, only grew. Then in 2007, they spent more money — an estimated $381 million — to try and integrate 54 different IT systems that the Social Security Administration uses to process claims in the state. In 2011 they spent another $200 million on the project. “After six years ... they found out that they really didn't have anything.” The backlog for Social Security claims continues to grow, and the latest attempt to fix the problem failed again this past summer. “By any stretch of imagination, it's scandalous.”

Contracts? (Score: 1)

by lmariachi@pipedot.org on 2015-11-28 02:32 (#VZP4)

In its zeal to push the “see, government is inherently incompetent and inefficient” narrative, TFA completely neglects to mention the role of private contractors in all that. Who’s landing these plums, and why aren’t the contracts written with milestone payments, performance mandates, and clawback provisions for if/when the contractor fails to deliver? And we know integrating cruſty legacy systems is no cakewalk, but there’s zero analysis or technical detail of the cause of these failures. How do you spend upwards of half a billion dollars and have nothing to show for it? Who’s rolling around in that money now, and why aren’t they behind bars, or at least being sued?
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