Share This Page

No easy fix

| Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

No easy ‘fix'

In the news story “Healthcare.gov's nightmare” in the Oct. 23 print editions of the Trib, The Associated Press reported that “Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said ... her agency is bringing in more experts and specialists from government and industry, including top Silicon Valley companies” to address the massive problems with the launch of the ObamaCare website. President Obama and Ms. Sebelius would be well-advised to read the book “The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering” by Fred Brooks, who successfully managed the development of one of IBM's largest software projects, OS/360.

Brooks' basic message relative to managing a software project is that “adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.” This concept is known in software engineering as Brooks' Law.

Although the time required to complete many projects (e.g., construction, manufacturing, etc.) can be shortened by adding personnel, the approach does not work for many others. Brooks mentions as an example, somewhat anecdotally, that nine months are required to produce a baby, no matter how many obstetricians or medical technicians are assigned to the effort. The HealthCare.gov website fits this model.

Wayne Baughman

Salem

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.