In, "What's the Key to Successful Tech Management," SCUP–49 plenary speaker Clay Shirky looks at the planning, project management, and crisis management of the Affordable Care Act’s website’s development, concluding: The real question “is whether Washington will ever allow good management to become part of its standard operating procedures, rather than something that it turns to only when its regular routines fail badly enough to produce a crisis.”
On a major new tech project, you can’t really understand the challenges involved until you start trying to build it. Rigid adherence to detailed advance planning amounts to a commitment by everyone involved not to learn anything useful or surprising while doing the actual work. Worse, the illusion that an advance plan can proceed according to schedule can make it harder to catch and fixed errors as early as possible, so as to limit the damage they cause. The need to prevent errors from compounding before they are fixed puts a premium on breaking a project down into small, testable chunks, with progress and plans continuously reviewed and updated.
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