Obamacare Project Doomed to fail

The online sign-up portion of the Affordable Care Act, affectionally known as Obamacare, was rolled out last week to a resounding failure. Why did it fail? It was set up to do so by the government. Let's look at some key strategies for failure.


  1. Force participation by people from every congressional district so that there is no clear leadership
  2. Put it on hold during the sequestration crisis
  3. Maintain an artificial deadline that is linked to elections, not the likely date that the system is actually ready to go
  4. Put it on hold again during the goverment shutdown
  5. Have half your stakeholders working to force it to fail so that they will feel vindicated by its failureĀ (I love this great example of negative stakeholders to use during my training classes)
  6. Refuse to delay the go-live despite to all the previous delays
  7. Cut the testing time to a couple of weeks to ensure the go-live occurs on time
The company I work for now spends a lot of effort doing computer system validations. While I usually stay above the fray, concentrating on the project management aspects, I recently jumped in to assist in the testing phase of a moderate computer system at a small pharmaceutical company. This testing phase will take four months when complete. How did anyone expect Obamacare to be tested in a matter of weeks?
I'm glad to see the Project Manager taking responsibility for the failure. I only wish she had stuck up for her team and refused to honor the artificial deadline imposed by the president. It would have been late but it would have been properly tested. A poor roll-out spoils the program for future users.