Last updated: October 25, 2013 - 7:26am
[Commentary] For the first time in history, a president has had to stand in the Rose Garden to apologize for a broken Web site.
But HealthCare.gov is only the latest episode in a string of information technology debacles by the federal government. So why is it that the technology available to President Barack Obama as president doesn’t compare to the technology he used to win an election? Much of the problem has to do with the way the government buys things. The President should use the power of the White House to end all large information technology purchases, and instead give his administration’s accomplished technologists the ability to work with agencies to make the right decisions, increase adoption of modern, incremental software development practices, like a popular one called Agile, already used in the private sector, and work with the Small Business Administration and the General Services Administration to make it easy for small businesses to contract with the government. Large federal information technology purchases have to end. Any methodology with a 94 percent chance of failure or delay, which costs taxpayers billions of dollars, doesn’t belong in a 21st-century government.
[Clay Johnson, a former Presidential Innovation Fellow and lead programmer for Howard Dean’s 2004 campaign, is the chief executive officer of the Department of Better Technology, a nonprofit that develops technology for governments. Harper Reed is the former chief technology officer of Obama for America.]
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