Politics aside, the roll out of the Healthcare.gov website for the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) has been an unmitigated disaster. No need to go into details. Unless you’ve been living underground like the late Saddam Hussein, you know all about it.
But the big question that many people are asking is “whose head or heads should roll?” (in other words, who gets the axe, the boot, sacked, or fired). Would you focus immediately on the project manager? I’m not sure that’s the right answer, especially in this case.
For example, enumerated below is the chain of command and other folks who had a direct hand in the disaster:
- Kathleen Sebelius, the health and human services secretary
- Marilyn Tavenner, the head of the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services
- Mike Hash, the head of the health and human services health reform office
- Michelle Snyder, the chief operating officer at Medicaid and Medicare
- Henry Chao, the chief digital architect for the website
- Jeanne Lambrew, the head of health care policy inside the White House
- David Simas, a key adviser involved in the rollout
- Todd Park, the president’s top adviser on technology issues.
This is a very long list of “culpable” individuals. However, there’s no mention of the project manager as far as I can tell. Maybe one of the issues is there were simply too many people involved. That’ll sink a project every time.
Anyway, we can’t fire all these folks; heck we won’t have the execs to run a key department. But, who should go?
Who should go if your project heads south? Would yours be the first head on the chopping block? Should it be?