Misunderstanding Agile Methods

The example of the Universal Credit is a good example of misunderstanding agile methods. Similarly, USA’s Health and Human Services spent $174 million and ended up with the decades most public software failure Healthcare.gov. This project used agile method for the development and surprisingly shortened the testing time from months to weeks, which suggests that the website did not have thorough testing. Using agile methods does not cut down risks automatically. The handling and narrowing down of risks and failures requires skills, and it shows that reduction of testing time was not a wise decision. Many are of the view that the project lacked critical thinking. “..If you can take only one thing from Healthcare.gov, it’s this: Use incremental approaches such as betas, early testing and regular delivery of a completely tested system, in tandem with flexible scope to find risk before it finds you. The saddest part of the Healthcare.gov failure isn’t that is so massive. The saddest part is that the failure was both predictable and greatly preventable. (Heusser, 2013)”

Kelley (2013) has the view that the fixbodygroup.com chiropractor project suffered from the very beginning due to poor planning. The developer should have followed an incremental method, which should have produced parts of the necessary system, after every two weeks or so but that was not the case. The government set a humongous set of requirements and let the development team come up with a final version. “Elise Hu of NPR broke out one slide from the presentation that gets to the crux of the problem that that method caused. In a footnote to the highlighted part below, Hu writes: This rather prescient slide basically telegraphs all of the key reasons why HealthCare.gov failed so spectacularly. Note that no “end-to-end testing,” a phrase often noted in the hearings about the “debacle,” as HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius described it, is listed as an issue in the review. The Post notes that the presentation made it clear that programs of this scale are ideally pursued in a more orderly process, with ‘significant testing and revision’ before they launch. (Kelley, 2013)”


Heusser, M. (2013) 6 Software Development Lessons From Healthcare.gov’s Failed Launch. Available at: https://www.cio.com/article/2380827/developer/developer-6-software-development-lessons-from-healthcare-gov-s-failed-launch.html (Accessed: 10 September 2017)

Kelley, M.B. (2013) Why The Obamacare Website Failed In One Slide. Available at: http://www.businessinsider.com/why-the-healthcaregov-website-failed-at-launch-in-one-slide-2013-11?IR=T (Accessed: 10 September 2017)


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