Census computers overloaded – headed for FAIL

Sigh… It is estimated that the 2010 census will cost $14.5B – a 322% increase over the 2000 census. (more here) As we all know government estimates are about as reliable as 2 week weather forecasts so expect the final cost to be much more. The galling fact of the matter is that, despite all the preparation and expense, computer problems may jeopardize the results. (story here from CNSNews.com)

The Census Bureau is specifically having problems with two IT systems. One is the Paper-Based Operational Control System (PBOC), which is an computer system used to manage the information collected during field operations such as NRFU.

The second is Decennial Applicant Personnel and Payroll System (DAPPS), which is the system used to keep track of, and pay, the more than 600,000 temporary federal workers who help conduct the Census’s NFRU field operations.

Last Thursday, the Government Accountability Office released a report authored by Goldenkoff on the Census Bureau’s IT problems entitle, “Data Collection is Under Way, But Reliability of Key Information Technology Systems Remains a Risk.” The report indicated that the government has known about the problem for some time.

“The government has known about the problem for some time” – and now, at crunch time, still nothing has been done to address it. This is something they have 10 bloody years to prepare for. They have almost 6000 permanent employees (FY 2006) and an operating budget of almost $3B. (Both figures are probably higher now, but they were the latest I could find.)

Why is this not surprising? Poor planning, poor implementation, poor execution = FAIL. The bigger question is this: Why do we continue to accept this level of failure from government?

One Response to “Census computers overloaded – headed for FAIL”

  1. […] Count the homeless – twice (or more) The 2010 Census FAIL saga continues. (more here, here, here and here) This story (from CNS News) describes how the Census may be counting the homeless […]

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