This week the Iowa Democratic Caucus proved once again what I have been teaching and talking about for decades. Organizations seeking to improve operations and incorporate technology must establish and adhere to governance over every aspect of a project and the information and processes related to that project.
In this case, it is the voting and selection of a candidate to represent the party in the Presidential Election. When all was said and done with the caucus, results could not be released to a lack of confidence in the integrity and accuracy of the data. The underlying reason seems to be an error in the coding of the report software application according to an ABC News report titled, “Iowa Caucus: What we know about what went wrong”
In my view
This article points out the need for governance over testing of the new application, information collected, processes to capture the information, and means by which to report the results. While it may be possible that these were in place, the fact it failed demonstrates either the lack of governance to test the application, or a lack of performing the application testing to ensure failure would not occur.
Thankfully, there was a fall back process for the various divisions to manually review the results using a paper back-up copy, and report the results but this too failed as calls were dropped, slowing the process even more. As of the time of this writing, the results are still unknown with nearly 18 hours passing since the final reports were due to be released.
In any project of this type, it is imperative that project, information, process, and technology governance be established and strictly followed. Had this been the case, we would have known the outcome as it was recorded, in realtime. Use this as an example for your projects, lest you set yourself up for failure.