May Be A 'Black Swan'

Patrick Thibodeau | Computerworld | October 25, 2013

One in six IT projects face out of control costs, and bring much disruption, making them 'black swans'

Despite partisan sniping over the Affordable Care Act, members of a U.S. House committee probing the problems at Thursday asked some tough, IT-specific questions that revealed some key facts.

Two members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, U.S. Reps. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), were especially focused on the testing process for the ACA website that's had problems since its launch on Oct. 1.

It turns out that project's 55 contractors had only two weeks to conduct end-to-end testing of prior to launch.

"What's the recommended industry standard for end-to-end testing," asked Walden.

"Months would be nice," said Andrew Slavitt, executive vice president of Optum, one of the contractors that built the site. Cheryl Campbell, senior vice president of CGI Federal and a witness, perhaps the largest contractor on the project, agreed with Slavitt.