we had our state government, we had insurance carriers—all were individual players,” Mr. Wadleigh says.
“Each one needed individual communications to make
sure they understood the progress.”
THE DOCTOR IS IN
To streamline and strengthen its approach, the team
decided early on to take a page from the private-sector
playbook. “Everything that wasn’t our core strength—
setting up call centers, scanning paper applications,
printing, development—got outsourced,” says Mr.
Wadleigh. KPMG was engaged as the technical advisor,
and Deloitte served as the system integrator.
The project leaders also established an integrated
project management office (PMO) to manage the
requirements analysis and stakeholder issues. That
decision quickly paid off. In early November, the team
realized one part of the schedule had fallen two weeks
behind, and immediately established a critical path
to monitor crucial activities being executed by both
vendors and AHCT units.
Looking to prevent the project from being derailed
going forward, the team strengthened communication
through a new weekly one-page report vendors and
internal groups had to deliver to the PMO: the “Top
5.” With the goal of ensuring transparency of status,
the report covered the top five biggest risks, dependencies, accomplishments and priorities for the coming week. During weekly meetings, each stakeholder
group was represented, with problems presented and
solutions worked through.
“The environment was like three-dimensional speed chess with a slew of factors coming at you, from legislators, policy people, the press, brokers, consumers, advocacy communities or insurance companies,” Mr. Counihan says.
n July 2012: Kevin Counihan joins AHCT as CEO and is
given one month to assemble a project team.
n October 2012: Onboarding begins for Deloitte, the
new systems integrator.
n November 2012: Realizing one part of the sched-
ule has fallen two weeks behind, AHCT leadership
establishes a path for monitoring baseline dates for
hardware and software builds. The PMO ensures
status transparency by requiring new weekly “Top 5”
reports from vendors.
n December 2012: Connecticut receives federal ap-
proval to move forward with its state exchange.
n January-February 2013: Review of legacy systems
between AHCT IT leadership and Deloitte IT leader-
ship begins. Requirements are completed and scope
is reduced by 30 percent.
1 March 2013: AHCT announces that any changes
after this date will be deferred until after launch.
n May 2013: IT leadership establishes twice-a-week
meetings to verify critical path progress for infra-
n June 2013: Internal users begin navigating the site to
compare and validate health plan benefits.
n July 2013: Development is complete and waves of
n August 2013: Incident response system is deployed
to track IT issues.
n September 2013: Twice-daily calls between stake-
holder groups are initiated to ensure progress.
n Mid-September 2013: New security challenges crop
up, with the vendor projecting a six-week fix. The
team resolves the issue in half that time.
29 September 2013: Regulatory oversight agency
rules that consumer information posts must be
added to application pages.
1 October 2013: Exchange website launches without
a single IT glitch.