A lengthy article that caught my attention earlier today wrote about concerns that the U.S. Government’s new Electronic Records Archives program may not be ready for the big time. OK, so that really isn’t unusual – but – other statements made in the article truly indicate a magnitude of information almost unthinkable to have 2 months to process. The article “Bush’s exit to put new e-records system to the test” states that the Bush Administration is expected to turn over some 140 TB of information to be added to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) where it will be properly catalogued and stored.
Following up on this article I also found a GAO article very much of interest to me as a developer, even one whose general clientele is small business. “Challenges in implementing an Electronic Records Archive” is the GAO article I refer to. The idea of implementing “…an initial operational capability with somewhat reduced capabilities…” in my experience is almost always beneficial, whether part of the initial implementation plan OR as the result of “issues” encountered in the development. Also referenced in the article is that “…a parallel development of a separate part…” (of the system) is being considered. It is interesting to note that this “separate part” of the system itself may not be ready to take on the Bush records in January 2009 as required — reason? — “…NARA and its contractor are still negotiating the precise scope of work and system requirements…” Since this system is to be created using “…a commercial product that provides some of the basic requirements for processing presidential electronic records…” I have to wonder what there is really to be negotiated. It seems to me that what there is to do is to get going with what is known to be required – time is running out!
For years now I have found myself becoming very frustrated with what I believe to be an over zealous effort to pre-define a “perfect” system, negotiating and re-negotiating — another example of what I would call “Analysis Paralysis”. FYI — The GAO article was released in May 2008.