letters | rough start for healthcare.gov

Unrealistic timeline for a software project

As a software professional, I am flabbergasted that President Obama has aimed to fix HealthCare.gov by Nov. 30. Although I am sure he has many intelligent informational technology people working with him, they evidently have not told him two primary rules of systems development: Software projects almost never finish on schedule, and Brooks’s law that adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.

It sounds as if they skipped the integration testing of the system, which is the most time-consuming and critical part of any project. Trying to squeeze it in before the sign-up deadline will be impossible.

Jon Frankel


The writer is a lecturer on information systems at the University of Massachusetts Boston.