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Federal CIO Urges Bold Vision For Government IT
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WKash
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WKash,
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10/30/2013 | 2:16:10 PM
re: Federal CIO Urges Bold Vision For Government IT
One of the open questions that Federal CIO Steve VanRoekel did not address at the ACT-IAC Executive Leadership Conference is whether there will be a successor version of the Digital Government Strategy. With most of the milestones of the document completed, but many of the initiatives still in play, it would seem agencies would benefit from a Digital Government Strategy 2.0...as our contributor, Tom Suder suggests -- particularly in the area of mobile.
RobPreston
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RobPreston,
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10/30/2013 | 4:43:10 PM
re: Federal CIO Urges Bold Vision For Government IT
Sorry, but I can't get over the fed CIO's comments about Healthcare.gov. "VanRoekel argued that the government's willingness to tackle something on such a scale, with such 'incredible complexity,' is 'something to be proud of' despite Healthcare.gov's initial failings." Really? We should be proud that the government took on such a huge effort even if it was woefully unprepared to carry it out? Should the Union have been proud of Burnside's generalship at Fredericksburg, given the scale and incredible complexity of that Civil War battle? Or should we view it for what it was: an ill-conceived death march?
MyW0r1d
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MyW0r1d,
User Rank: Strategist
10/31/2013 | 2:19:33 PM
re: Federal CIO Urges Bold Vision For Government IT
He is a FedGovt manager and I would not expect him to criticize anything his employer does. Nothing is a failure because there are only opportunities to improve, I am good/you are good, even if it costs millions go for the win/win, touchy feely gibberish = zero responsibility or accountability. The statement is only further evidence of a "its not my pocketbook" mindset and why it failed and programs like this will continue to fail, be largely over cost and/or delayed (like the FBI case management or weapons background check system).
It isn't that I disagree with some of his affirmations (they are so generalized one couldn't really), but you cannot just talk the talk. If Healthcare.gov was developed following some of these modular development best practices, then it is clear they ignored failures of critical milestones which would have indicated to his strategic level that the tactical level was not prepared for rollout even after years in development.
RobPreston
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RobPreston,
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10/31/2013 | 2:40:49 PM
re: Federal CIO Urges Bold Vision For Government IT
I'm not looking for VanRoekel to throw his colleagues or his boss under the bus, but I would like to see a much bigger sense of urgency from the federal CIO. "Learning opportunities" are all well and good, but this is the centerpiece of ObamaCare, the single biggest priority of the Obama administration. Save the learning opportunities for the smaller stuff.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
11/1/2013 | 2:46:10 AM
re: Federal CIO Urges Bold Vision For Government IT
So if the main benefit of the Healthcare.gov screwup is a "teaching moment," shouldn't it come out of the Department of Education's budget? ;)
wht
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wht,
User Rank: Strategist
10/31/2013 | 3:57:28 PM
re: Federal CIO Urges Bold Vision For Government IT
I agree. But better to learn on a smaller scale, less visible and less expensive project. To many tax dollars lost on this biggie, and too many people more than inconvenienced. In my world (financial industry) heads would have rolled, long ago.
jries921
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jries921,
User Rank: Ninja
10/30/2013 | 5:36:41 PM
re: Federal CIO Urges Bold Vision For Government IT
Perhaps Mr. Van Roekel should have seen the potential problems with the healthcare.gov launch in advance and advised the President and the Secretary of HHS as to how to avoid them.

This is, after all, the most visible aspect of the health care reform initiative his boss made the top priority of his administration. I have to think that if I had been in his shoes I would have spent large parts of the last two years doing everything in my power to make sure it came off smoothly.
MyW0r1d
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MyW0r1d,
User Rank: Strategist
10/31/2013 | 6:14:53 PM
re: Federal CIO Urges Bold Vision For Government IT
Perhaps. I doubt Van Roekel was more than informed in passing about the website and certainly was not in a position to preventively advise anyone of problems. Everything about him is high level, strategy even this article states as much. Identifying potential problems in order to advise would be found at a more tactical implementation level (well below where he operates).
WKash
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WKash,
User Rank: Author
11/1/2013 | 4:35:48 PM
re: Federal CIO Urges Bold Vision For Government IT
This sounds like a good idea, but it's naive. People need to understand that the authority for managing projects like this belong to the program managers inside CMS, and HHS -- and that the CIOs inside HHS and CMS -- let alone VanRoekel -- don't have the authority many people assume to just step in and monitor what's going on.
daverill801
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daverill801,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/1/2013 | 6:35:05 PM
re: Federal CIO Urges Bold Vision For Government IT
Based on the article, perhaps the problem is Mr. Van Roekel, himself. Let's look at his history. "VanRoekel recounted his experience working at Microsoft when a major software product launch he oversaw was recalled because of unforeseen problems. " Is this a habit, to go through software development requirements/processes and not address the "unforseen problems". I'm sorry, it's up to him to provide leadership in this area, 3 years ago, not in hind sight. Is Van Roekel even qualified for this high visibility job? It sounds like the stakeholder requirements were and may still be incomplete.
cbabcock
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cbabcock,
User Rank: Strategist
10/30/2013 | 7:36:30 PM
re: Federal CIO Urges Bold Vision For Government IT
Marrying usability with modularity is a formula for a services-oriented architecture.Everybody talks about it. If the federal government could do it, that would be a huge step forward in terms of containing federal IT costs. It's also a way to build applications that transition easily into the cloud.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
11/1/2013 | 2:37:39 AM
re: Federal CIO Urges Bold Vision For Government IT
I do agree that failure can be a teaching moment, but this "failure is great because you can learn from it" culture that is overtaking the tech world is really getting ridiculous now.

1) Success is teachable too.

2) Sometimes, a failure doesn't mean something. Sometimes it's just a failure.
JoannaD306
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JoannaD306,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/4/2013 | 10:25:44 PM
re: Federal CIO Urges Bold Vision For Government IT
Bold or not bold, some of the major issues with the healthcare.gov site were preventable. In fact, if you apply a common IT framework such as ITIL as a litmus test, it's pretty glaringly obvious where they went wrong - service design, service transition, service operation, and CSI - it's actually all outlined in a post found here: http://goo.gl/aVttCG


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