I wrote a long piece on LinkedIn reflecting on Steven Brill's excellent Time Magazine
cover story "Code Red_", about the rescue of healthcare.gov
by a small team of volunteer techies from Silicon Valley. My conclusions:
Hats off to the rescue team. They did a great service, while also demonstrating that yes, a small team with the right skills can do more than disorganized, mismanaged teams of contractors charging the government hundreds of millions of dollars. But if we think that bringing Silicon Valley to the rescue is that simple, we're missing the big opportunity, which is to change the way we design and manage these projects.
The lesson of the Code Red exercise wasn't that you can just sprinkle some Silicon Valley fairy dust and go back to business as usual. The "emergency measures" of the rescue need to lead us to a profound rethinking of how government creates IT projects.
At the same time, this is a long process, and we do need folks from Silicon Valley (and other tech hubs) to engage with it. There's a lot to fix, and now is the time!