What Can We Learn From HealthCare.gov?

HealthCare.gov is not unlike any other website – visitors expect it to just work. The problem is, when HealthCare.gov launched, it didn’t work. It was slow. It crashed. Users couldn’t get through the process. Simply put: it failed.

On a recent trip to Washington, D.C., I got a behind-the-scenes look at the retooled HealthCare.gov. I met the contractors working to improve the site. I got a glimpse of the software and hardware improvements; the new level of accountability; and the processes put into place to ensure it can operate at scale without hiccups.

HealthCare.gov’s public failure could’ve been avoided. With the right testing, monitoring, automation and expertise, it could’ve handled the crunch of traffic that came its way. Had HealthCare.gov taken a page from ecommerce sites, which start planning for major events months in advance, it could have weathered the initial barrage of traffic and saved itself from a great deal of public embarrassment.

At 1 p.m. Central on Thursday, December 5 I will join the live Rackspace Office Hours Hangout on Google+ to discuss some of the lessons learned from HealthCare.gov’s launch, the “tech surge” to fix it and its re-launch. Please join me and Rackers Alan Bush and Drew Cox as we cover some of the action taken to fix HealthCare.gov and tips that you can use to avoid your website suffering a similar failure.

Register now for the Rackspace Office Hours Hangout to discuss HealthCare.gov and the lessons learned.

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John Engates joined Rackspace in August 2000, just a year after the company was founded, as Vice President of Operations, managing the datacenter operations and customer-service teams. Most recently, John has played an active role in the evolution and evangelism of Rackspace’s cloud-computing strategy and cloud products.