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Sun Oct 27, 2013, 04:15 PM

About the glitchy ACA website

Of course it's buggy and has glitches. First rule of software: No matter how well you design something or how thoroughly you test it, there are always going to be glitches that you missed. It's an immutable rule of coding. They were building a website that had to handle (potentially) millions of hits and the specs were given by politicians (who generally know little about tech).

There were always going to be problems. Frankly, we're lucky that the whole thing didn't just collapse on the first day. But bugs can and will be fixed. It just takes a little patience.

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Response to Prophet 451 (Original post)

Sun Oct 27, 2013, 05:49 PM

1. While many of the user requirements ultimately came from politicians...

...the site was built and launched by professionals, who simply did not have it working well on day one, or for many days after. That's worse than mere glitchery, and speaks of a rushed and/or poorly managed rollout which of course was going to be pilloried by the haters.

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Response to Orsino (Reply #1)

Sun Oct 27, 2013, 06:49 PM

3. It's not the first, nor will it be the last tech project to go wrong.

It wasn't ready, and no-one wanted to sound the alarm. It sounds to me like a (technical) death march. I've been on a few of these.

They will get it working eventually, and I think going forward it will be a great resource.

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Response to goldent (Reply #3)

Sun Oct 27, 2013, 07:00 PM

4. It's already working rather well.

Hardly a death march.

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Response to Orsino (Reply #4)

Sun Oct 27, 2013, 07:39 PM

5. Yeah, it's ok if you are persistant

I've been able to get quotes - it took a number of days, but in the end it worked. Not like Amazon yet, but I'm confident it will get there (as it needs to)

I suspect it was very much like a death march (using the software meaning of the term) - there is no-way something this big could have happened without MANY people knowing it wouldn't be ready in time, but putting your head down and plugging away, because that's all you know to do. When I was on projects like this, eventually, when no-one could deny we would be late, the alarm was raised and the shit hit the fan. As painful as that was, it would have been worse had we delivered a product that would fall on its face. It will be interesting to learn the details of what happened here, as I assume the story will eventually be told.

As the President has pointed out, the ACA isn't this website. But the reality is that the website is the public interface to ACA, and it gave a bad first impression. This will be more-or-less forgotten in a year, except for one more chapter in the book of software projects where the finish date was not determined by the developers, but by the bosses.

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Response to goldent (Reply #5)

Mon Oct 28, 2013, 10:35 AM

7. "In time" is the key phrase, I think.

From a PR perspective, a website that worked pretty well on day one must have been the goal at some point, and that clearly slipped before launch. On one practical level, however, a site that eventually shapes up, giving people many weeks to create policies before January first isn't so bad. If the four million enrollees so far are joined by three million more in the coming months, I'll be calling it a win.

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Response to Prophet 451 (Original post)

Sun Oct 27, 2013, 06:07 PM

2. The problem seems to be in the handling of the session token.

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Response to Prophet 451 (Original post)

Sun Oct 27, 2013, 07:53 PM

6. To compare web site glitches to what the Republicans did to this country

 

is like comparing a "Two Jews walk into a Bar" joke to the Nuremberg Race Laws.

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