One aspect of governance is setting objectives. Another is checking in on progress from time to time. Another is making it clear that hiding a problem from the boss is not a good idea.
Where was the failure in governance over Healthcare.gov?
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) was in charge of the website construction and rollout. It acted as “general contractor” on the project, which was consistent with a White House memo of general application. Beginning in March 2013, CMS knew things were in trouble. In retrospect, it would appear that they redefined “oversight.” But it appears that, despite that knowledge, CMS didn’t really tell the White House.
“Health Website Problems Weren’t Flagged in Time,” Wall Street Journal, December 3, 2013 A4 http://on.wsj.com/1ckbFQE
Apparently, accurate data about the status of projects in progress is important to managing that process. How do you make sure that your culture allows (nay, encourages) people to provide early warning of problems so that there are no surprises? How do you select managers who will report bad news up-dip? Is there something that you are doing that discourages such reporting? What’s the risk of not doing this well?
At least no one’s been fired.