Promising Practices Promising PracticesPromising Practices
A forum for government's best ideas and most innovative leaders.

The Best Way to Fix Scrap It and Start Over.


Listen to the story:

Download this episode | Subscribe on iTunes

It's been almost a month since major issues emerged during the launch of, the website for Americans looking to sign up for a medical plan in the health insurance marketplace.  And the problems remain in headlines. A key component of the president's signature policy initiative, the site has been over budget, delayed and dysfunctional, bringing technology contractors and federal managers under fire.

Noble Ackerson has worked on both sides of that divide. As a former official in the Virginia governor's office, he worked on technology policy. And in private industry, he's worked as a consultant and, most recently, founded Byte an Atom Research. Ackerson told Government Executive's Mark Micheli that some of the issues with stem from a lack of testing and a project schedule that was unnecessarily rushed. Unfortunately, that means a lot of work is going into hastily fixing the site, according to Ackerson.

“That’s where we are today,” he said. ”A lot of people are trying to either patch-fix or undo mistakes made during the rollout.

Ackerson contends the issues with the project are basically unsolvable. When asked how he would fix, Ackerson said he would simply start over by slimming down the code base and rebuilding the entire site. Unfortunately, that’s not an option for an already beleaguered Obama administration.

“I would scrap the project and  start from scratch,” Ackerson said. “That would be disastrous for the administration, so that won’t happen.”

Mark Micheli is Special Projects Editor for Government Executive Media Group. He's the editor of Excellence in Government Online and contributes to GovExec, NextGov and Defense One. Previously, he worked on national security and emergency management issues with the US Treasury Department and the Department of Homeland Security. He's a graduate of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs and studied at Drake University.

Prior to joining Government Executive’s staff, Ross Gianfortune worked at The Washington Post, The Gazette Newspapers, WXRT Radio and The Columbia Missourian. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from University of Missouri and a master's in communications from the American University.

Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.