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3 Things Project Managers Can Learn From the Poor Healthcare.gov Website Rollout

Over the last 2 months we have seen a lot of coverage of the rollout of the healthcare.gov rollout. A lot of the coverage may have taken a slant towards one political side or the other, but as Project Managers, we can take a few really valuable lessons from the rollout of the healthcare.gov website and how you can learn from their actions to make your next projects better.

  1. Communication is the most valuable part of any project plan: I can’t begin to count the number of instances where key stakeholders in the project to roll out healthcare.gov were said to have not been aware of some issue with the site’s development or key issues that were arising because of the site development. When your key stakeholder is the President, you are working on a project that probably effects the entire nation, so you need to be communicating at all times. As any good project management training states, communication is often about 90% of the PM’s job. In this instance, the PMs really didn’t do a good job of communication.
  2. Measureable goals are key: As we approached the White House’s self imposed November 30th, 2013 deadline to have the healthcare.gov website up and running, we began to hear about having a success rate of 80% and that the website should be able to successfully handle 50,000 visitors at a time. Whether those are good or bad goals, that’s debatable. What is important from a project management standpoint is that the White House had set measurable goals that the project managers can measure their work against. Which is key as a manager that is trying to help his team understand priorities and success metrics.
  3. Stakeholder buy-in and management can make or break your project: In Washington we have divided government where the Republicans control the House and the Democrats control the Senate and the White House. Obviously you only need to watch the news for a few seconds to realize that there haven’t been a lot of things where both parties bought in equally on an issue. This doesn’t just happen in politics, this happens on projects all over the world. As a project manager, you need to try and gain as much buy-in from your stakeholders as possible, as early as possible…or if you can’t get that buy-in and you know it early on, you can manage accordingly. Either way, planning and stakeholder management can save you a ton of headache as your project progresses.

Obviously these are only a few of the issues that presented themselves during the rollout of healthcare.gov. I’m sure any good project manager was thinking of ways that the project could have been managed better.

www.davewakeman.com

Tags: Project Management

Dave Wakeman

Dave Wakeman

Dave Wakeman is an entrepreneur, consultant, writer, and speaker. He works with businesses and organizations to focus on value, efficiency, and effectiveness. He has worked with clients as diverse as American Express,…
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Authors

Tara Rodden RobinsonSusanne MadsenConrado Morlan, PgMP, PMPElizabeth HarrinKathy CaprinoPeter TaylorDave WakemanSang LeeMário H TrentimStephen DaleRobert KellyElizabeth Grace SaundersJason WestlandLeo BabautaSteve Prentice

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