The debacle of the Healthcare.gov launch in 2013 was one the biggest public IT failures in history. There have been hundreds of articles written on the myriad reasons for the failure.
In Delivering on Digital: The Innovators and Technologies That Are Transforming Government (RosettaBooks 0795347510), author William Eggers showcases the other side of the story, the many cases where government IT projects were successfully rolled out.
Eggers does also chime in on why the Obamacare site project failed so miserably, and what lead to its catastrophic roll-out. He uses that to contrast other, smaller projects that rolled-out successfully.
Eggers is a big fan of open source and cloud computing, and many of the success stories in the book centered around agencies that successfully used these technologies.
The book details the high-level methods government agencies can use to jump start new project.
Many of the success stories the book chronicles are smaller, more discrete applications that are easier to modify. Legacy systems, such as those from the IRS, are infinitely more complicated and don’t lend themselves to such easy retrofitting.
A recurring theme Eggers makes is that there is no shortage of technical capability hindering government agencies; rather, it is the culture that is often highly resistant to any sort of change.
At about 250 pages, the book is a very high-level overview to the topic. Eggers does not get into low-level details about systems design or implementation. Such a detailed technical guide would easily be over 2,000 pages long for any moderately complex government system.
For those in the government sector looking for that high-level guide to digital transformation, Delivering on Digital: The Innovators and Technologies That Are Transforming Government is a handy guide to help them get started on their journey.