Joshua Sharf passes along this note:
This morning, the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce held hearings on the launchpad explosion that has been the Obamacare website, inviting representatives of the major contracting firms to testify.
What emerged was a confirmation of the picture that we painted here at PJMedia.
The HHS entity responsible for Healthcare.gov, the Office of Information Services at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, acted as its own integration team, the people responsible for putting all of the disparate parts of the system together.
As was mentioned a few times, contractors are responsible for “unit testing,” making sure that their individual pieces work as required by contract and by system specifications. The integration team is responsible for making sure that those pieces fit the needs of the entire system, and work and play well together.
In this case, CMS, acting as its own integration team, began full-scale, integration testing only two weeks prior to the launch of the system, a process that would have required months to do properly. This, rather than delay the launch.
In addition, somewhere at CMS or above, the decision was made to prevent visitors from shopping without having to register. That decision, too, was made only two weeks before launch, or just as integration testing was beginning. Which means that, in all likelihood, that functionality was *never* properly tested.
I’ll just add that one of the contractors being grilled said their first live test was when the whole system went live on October 1st.