Friday, June 25, 2010

Phil’s Folly

The $3 million software screw up by the Columbia Association was closely looked after by CA board member Phil Kirsch (Wilde Lake). Phil likes to remind people that he has experience in developing computer systems and my sources tell me that he was heavily involved in overseeing this technological train wreck. In this story by Andrei Blakely in the Howard County Times from three years ago, Phil was quoted as saying “I don't know if I've ever seen a computer system that came in on time. It's not a car, where you can go out and kick the tires."

It looks like Phil was pretty prescient. At the time that article was written the Performance and Oversight Committee of the board had been just reviewed a prototype of the new system. The chair of this committee at that time was Cynthia Coyle, the current chair of the board. The committee said they expected the new software to be operational for the public by April of 2008.

“Cynthia Coyle, of Harper's Choice, the chairwoman of the committee, said that she has grown somewhat impatient waiting for the computer system to debut.

"The briefing was great, but we still don't have a product," Coyle said. "I'm very pleased with where it's going. I'd like to see it get there."

If she was so impatient back in 2007 why did it take this long to pull the plug on the project at that point?

In 2006 two senior staff members, Donna Dupree and Rafia Siddiqui spent four months in India “helping the company write codes for the new software.”

Four months seems like an awful long time for two people to work on code who aren’t computer programmers, but hey, what do I know.
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