Venturing into healthcare.gov
With all the reporting, and miss-reporting, going on I thought I would look into the site and see just how bad it was. Well, it's pretty bad. After several hours of going through the initial registration and validation steps I got to a dead end at the point where I was supposed to be presented with my insurance options and costs.
I noticed a number of 500 sever errors, some JS errors, and a general breakdown in the user interface usability. Obviously, it's easy to sit back and point out the errors and flaws in the process. Although, if you factor in the expectations for a site commissioned by the United States government, your left with a feeling of both disappointment and fear.
A new punchline?
If this site was supposed to highlight the programming ability and technical expertise of the US, it failed miserably. Instead, it highlighted the total incompetence of our nation's government when it comes to implementing a programming and technology challenge.
While I'm confident that this will be fixed and by this time next year it will only be a news footnote, if not a punchline, it doesn't diminish the fact that this 'glitch' in our technological prowess will be a lasting blemish on the face of America. While it's possible to get past this and overshadow it with other successful accomplishments, that I'm sure will take place in the future, inevitably, this highly publicized and very public display of technical ineptness will be a lasting testament to our government's ability in the programming arena.
Quit wandering around
One striking and very interesting observation was that the site was using Google's analytics. I heard some of the testimony at the senate hearings and remember one of the individuals allude to very sophisticated analysis and tracking methods being used on the site. Why would a project of this size use third party tracking? I'm not discounting Google's technology, in fact I use Google myself and it is an excellent and well programmed solution for tracking and analysis. I'm simply asking, if you were in charge of a project with close to 300 million in funds, would you use a third party for tracking and analysis?
I actually noticed several third party calls, calls away from site, while doing my test. Not being privy to what is necessary and what is not I couldn't begin to challenge any off-site program calls but I can, at least, be a little suspicious that some of these could have been programmed internally.
Idonotknow did it
Hopefully, the investigation into this will bring some project miss-management to the surface and will prompt better standards in government programming projects in the future. There already exist some tried-and-true programming project structures that would have eliminated a huge part of the problems, which we are now seeing, in the implementation of healthcare.gov. Again, it's a lot easier to stand back and point out failures and complain then it is to join in and be a part of the solution. Although, I was never asked to be a part of the solution so instead I'm just noting some observations and expressing some thoughts. One thought I cannot help but express, 'physician, heal thyself'.
by Jim Atkins 'thedosmann'