As an IT professional who works with many corporations that have mission critical websites that cannot experience outages, I am not alone in wondering what went wrong with the http://www.healthcare.gov site launch. For the amount of time and money that was invested in launching this site, the types of outages and problems encountered should have been significantly less than what was experienced. Not every implementation, especially one on this large of a scale, is flawless but with proper planning and testing many of the pitfalls could have been avoided. A recent article in CIO magazine highlighted areas necessary to be evaluated for other companies to avoid similar problems.
What are the lessons everyone can learn from this very public troubled launch? Communication, planning, and proper testing are critical to successful implementations. Whether the application is hosted on internal hardware or with a hosting partner, it is imperative that the business leaders, application architects and infrastructure architects have a clear understanding of what the business requirements are and if the application and infrastructure are capable of meeting those requirements.
One of the activities that I get to participate in with our client is planning sessions. These planning sessions are a great opportunity to make sure everyone at the table has the same understanding of what is changing from a business perspective and how that changes the technology needs to be constructed to meet the requirements associated with the change.
“The Only Thing That is Constant is Change” -Heraclitus