Thursday, August 27, 2009

Government Efficiency

Cash For Clunkers

An old friend called me a few days ago and during our conversation, I asked him how his job was. He works in accounting for an online car dealer. He said that his group is already bare bones, but that the dealers were hit the hardest over the last year.

I asked how the "Cash For Clunkers" program is going (in case you didn't know, this is where the government gives you $4500 to trade in your old car for an efficient new model). He said that it has boosted sales for the dealerships, but that it was a nightmare for the people doing the paperwork because of the complicated government forms. The deadline for filing was the day I talked to him, but the servers handling the applications kept crashing so the government had to keep extending the deadline.

Cash for Clunkers video from NY Times


I develop software for a government contract. My company has a very rigorous hiring process compared to the previous company I was at (a competitor). In our staff meeting, my boss was talking about the "visibility" that our project is getting. As such, there is more government oversight in how we do our work. We had to come up with estimates for how many lines of code (SLOC) we produce. Looking back over the last two years we have developed about 7 lines of code per hour (this includes everything including extensive testing). The industry average is about 1 line of code per day.

The government's response was to scoff because our numbers aren't credible. They obviously need to impose more of their process on us, since we don't know what we are doing (Even though they have been buying more of our products than our competitors and we are less expensive). I'm sure that eventually, we'll only be developing 1 line per hour and they will feel justified that they helped us to correctly measure our rate of production.

Health Care

I hope you're healthy and stay healthy for a long time.


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