The Romney campaign’s great IT failure

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Ars Technica has a great analysis of “Team Romney’s whale of an IT meltdown.” Regardless of your political views, if you are involved in any large IT project this is worth reading.

“Orca” was the campaign’s massively-hyped centralized computer system for managing the get-out-the-vote drive. It was supposed to track the process in real time and shift resources as necessary from areas where Romney was running far ahead to areas where more help was needed–thus running rings around Obama’s more old-fashioned system.

In fact the system was inadequately tested and users had essentially no training. On Election Day it collapsed, leaving the campaign managers flying blind. Given the margin of victory this probably wasn’t enough to change the results the election. (The “ground game” is supposed to be good for a point or so.) Still, it certainly didn’t help.

“The end result,” Ekdahl wrote, “was that 30,000+ of the most active and fired-up volunteers were wandering around confused and frustrated when they could have been doing anything else to help. The bitter irony of this entire endeavor was that a supposedly small government candidate gutted the local structure of [get out the vote] efforts in favor of a centralized, faceless organization in a far off place (in this case, their Boston headquarters). Wrap your head around that.”

2 thoughts on “The Romney campaign’s great IT failure

  1. Pingback: More thoughts on Orca | bugfox blog

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