Much has been written about the current HealthCare.gov debacle, and yet, the results shouldn't be that surprising given these brutal statistics on commercial and government IT projects.
To have a fighting chance at success, a startup organization might be the only way to successfully design a complex system of "rules" — the coordination of human interactions — to tackle digital projects at the scale of HealthCare.gov. The Department of Health and Human Services, with its business unit orientation and legacy culture, is not the best choice for governance of this type of project. Instead, the organization responsible should be one with a functional mandate — a focus on digital products and services. Fortunately, a model to which the U.S. government can look already exists: the UK's Government Digital Service. Its simple website states:
Government Digital Service emerged after a similar technology crisis and now, just a few years later, has shown success. As NPR reports:
And, more specifically, Mike Bracken believes that the legacy of rules around procurement is outdated and ineffective for the creation of digital products.
As Paul Romer has said, "a crisis is a terrible thing to waste." Bracken concurs.
Tile image courtesy of Michael Tam.