On November 22, the New York Times ran a long article detailing the organizational and managerial problems behind the crash of HealthCare.gov. Art Kleiner, editor-in-chief of strategy+business, calls this “one of the most important articles on management this year.” I agree. Kleiner goes on to suggest that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a test case for the idea that the private sector needs effective government, and that the way to get effective government is to free it to learn and reform. In short, let’s demand and support effective management in our public sector agencies.
What exactly does it mean to manage effectively in the public sector? And how do you produce accountability? In recent posts on this blog, I’ve begun introducing the practices of promise-based management, like making effective requests and reliable promises. The recent experience of HealthCare.gov as described by the Times presents a brilliant opportunity to illustrate these practices through a real-life example that everyone is talking about. Let’s give it a shot.
Knowing how long it would take to complete and test the software, the company’s officials and other vendors believed that it was impossible to open a fully functioning exchange on Oct. 1….Government officials, on the other hand, insisted that Oct. 1 was not negotiable.