Belated realization of what works

I've previously blogged about the contrast between the technically sophisticated Obama re-election campaign and the dog's breakfast that is Healthcare.gov. Go take a quick look to refresh your memories.

Now it turns out that at least one of the team being "tech-surged" to worked on the highly successful tech of Obama's re-election campaign:

One of two surge team members named by the agency was Michael Dickerson, which [sic, who taught CNN subs grammar?] CMS said was on leave from Google.
"He has expertise in diving into any layer of the tech stack ... in order to deliver some of the world's most reliable online services," CMS spokeswoman Julie Bataille said.
Dickerson is a site reliability engineer at Google and worked on some of the key performance-critical systems for the Obama team, as per his CV:
Designed and implemented, with Chris Jones and Yair Ghitza, the 2012 realtime election day monitoring and modeling (based on "Gordon" or vanpollwatcher.com).
Also: Wrote a tool for computing walkability of potential contacts, used by several states to prioritize GOTV contacts. Helped create the algorithm for targeting national TV cable ads to party preference and behavior, and wrote the tool that was used to do it. Prepared disaster recovery for all of OFA's mysql databases before Hurricane Sandy. Conducted various scalability and reliability assessments for many teams in OFA Tech and Analytics.
Finally the federal government is getting smart about how to fix the healthcare.gov problems - find people who a) have an interest in seeing this effort not fall on its arse, b) have the technical chops to know about the issues involved in a near-realtime distributed DB-backed system, and c) are willing and able to kick ass, then hand them a stick with a nail in the end and give them an open-ended mandate to pull the HHS chestnuts out of the fire.

Too late? Maybe. The government has committed to having things working by the end of the month. Without knowing specifics, and assuming a virtually unlimited budget, I think they are finally getting the right kind of people in to sort out their problems. The question is how many reputations and careers of the incumbent project managers and developers they are willing to sacrifice. I suspect at this point the answer is "all".

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