Jeff Zients=Mr. Wolf

November 11th, 2013 at 8:37 am

Every time I read stuff like this about Jeff Zients, the fixer the White House has brought in to get the healthcare.gov site up and running, I think about Mr. Wolf from Pulp Fiction, impeccably played by Harvey Keitel (warning: some rough language and images).

I worked with Jeff a bit back in the day and agree that he’s a great guy for the job.  But remember, as Larry Summers stresses in an oped today, Mr. Wolf didn’t have to deal with the opposition machine facing those trying to implement the ACA.

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One comment in reply to "Jeff Zients=Mr. Wolf"

  1. James Hubbard says:

    The article about Zients is interesting. However, the misinformation that the press and the general public has about software development practices in general is frustrating. I rarely read anything about the project expecting to hear anything realistic about the technical aspects of the project.

    This one section of the article about military style stand up doesn’t really contribute anything to the article and demonstrates that the author is ignorant about software development practices. The fact that they’re having 2 meetings a day tells me that this isn’t the usual stand-up.

    “…instituted at the command center morning and evening ‘stand up meetings,’ so named because each tech team member, in a military-style exercise in accountability, must stand while delivering a progress report…”

    The stand-up is part of a methodology called Agile. It’s a once a day thing at least for those doing the actual work of writing code.
    http://martinfowler.com/articles/itsNotJustStandingUp.html

    There’s a whole philosophy behind Agile and it’s usually the antithesis of the way government procurement works especially a project like Healthcare.gov. For those that are interested I suggest the following two links.

    http://agilemanifesto.org/ – This started the “revolution” against waterfall style projects. (Waterfall is a stepped process that leads to a final product that typically didn’t work.)

    http://martinfowler.com/agile.html – Fowler is an original signatory and has lots of information about Agile.

    Google is your friend and there’s enough information above to use it to expand your knowledge if you have the inclination or time.


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