We all know to include C-suite, right?
December 12, 2013 in Medical Technology
In the wake of HealthCare.gov’s botched launch, analysts — and Congressional leaders — contend the private sector would have done it better. That’s not necessarily so, says Karen Evans, the former administrator for Electronic Government and Information Technology at the Office of Management and Budget, who offers five tips for successful rollouts.
The problems were not with complexity, procurement and testing, Evan said. It was a management failure caused by policy officials. “They did this to themselves,” she said.
[See also: What happened to Healthcare.gov?.]
Evans, who has fulfilled CIO positions in both the private and public sector, recently testified at a congressional hearing where she said the job of a federal CIO and a private sector CIO are more similar than one might think.
“Overall, federal CIOs and commercial CIOs are more similar than different,” she said. “And we have the same job description: to be the technology-savvy member of the executive management team, to provide value through innovation, to manage data as a strategic asset, and to lead a large team of technologists and inspire them to achieve greatness,”
To avoid problems like those experienced by Healthcare.gov, Evans offers these tips for success in any IT project:
- Get the C-suite involved. Policy decisions drive the technical specifications for IT systems, Evans says. Policy officials and management officials need to be engaged during the implementation of reform projects, policy or laws, to assure there is an appropriate integrated project team in place to manage day-to-day operations.
- All levels of the organization need to be willing to get “in-the-weeds.” This is to understand the intricate aspects of management and implementation, because the devil is in the details. “Someone can change a seemingly innocuous requirement in a meeting and cause a huge impact on schedule, cost, or functionality,” Evans warns.
- Translate technology issues into business-speak for the other business leaders. When a technical implementation specification hinges on a policy decision, the technical team depends upon the CIO to elevate the question to the appropriate decision maker. CIOs are the best suited to put the tech issues into terms the other C-suite team can best understand.
- Focus management attention. CIOs in private and public IT projects should distill the project status down to a simple list for upper management, so that problems can be flagged early, Evans says.
- Establish a Go/No-Go milestone date. A go/no-go milestone is simply a date by which the project must have completed a specific, measurable amount of progress in order for the entire project to be completed by the due date. “Thus, you know that if you haven’t met the milestone by the date, you’re not going to make it,” Evans says.
[See also: Henry Ford’s CIO discusses EHR rollout.]