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Blame it on the database

The story of a famous failure:

Another sore point was the Medicare agency’s decision to use database software, from a company called MarkLogic, that managed the data differently from systems by companies like IBM, Microsoft and Oracle. CGI officials argued that it would slow work because it was too unfamiliar. Government officials disagreed, and its configuration remains a serious problem.


“We have not identified any inefficient and defective code,” a CGI executive responded in an email to federal project managers, pointing again to database technology that the Medicare agency had ordered it to use as the culprit, at least in part.

I’m not going to defend Marklogic. But this sounds so much as the archetype of a failure story:

  1. start by blaming the other contractors
  2. find the newest or less known technology used in the project
  3. point all fingers to it

Long time ago I’ve been in a similar project. Different country, different agencies, different contractors, but exactly the same story. It was in the early days of my career. But what I’ve learned at that time stuck with me and even if today it may sound like a truism, it’s still one of the big lessons: It’s not the technology. It’s the people. Always. And the money.

Original title and link: Blame it on the database (NoSQL database©myNoSQL)