November 9, 2012

Perhaps They Should Have Tested More - Romney Project Orca

Perhaps the Project Orca team should have tested more?

Described as a "Killer Whale Project", a system designed to help volunteers record who voted, and to identify those who hadn’t for follow-up, apparently failed miserably. copyrightjoestrazzere
  • Designed to digitize and streamline the poll watchers' strike lists
  • Not only did Project Orca not improve the process, it may have actually hindered it. 
  • Checklist in instruction packet listed the same item twice, and missed a critically important step
  • Didn't auto-forward users who didn't know to add an S to the http:// protocol in the app's URL
  • PINs that were required to login and download the voter lists didn't work and couldn't be reset
  • In one area, the head of the Republican Party plus 10 volunteers were all locked out
  • All of Colorado had the wrong PINs
  • In North Carolina every pin was wrong and not fixed until 6PM
  • The system went down for a half hour during peak voting, but for hundreds or more, it never worked all day
  • The system projected every swing state as pink or red
  • As of 4 p.m., Orca still projected a Romney victory of somewhere between 290 and 300 electoral votes
  • An aide said Orca had pretty much crashed in the heat of the action
  • By pushing Orca into the most important swing states they drew 37,000 volunteers away from more battle-tested methods and left local campaign offices flying blind

According to a Romney campaign release from just before the election:
"Project ORCA is a massive undertaking – the Republican Party’s newest, unprecedented and most technologically advanced plan to win the 2012 presidential election.
We have tweaked and improved Project ORCA throughout primary, so going into the general, we had several ideas and more time to incorporate those ideas into a system that would work nationally."

Perhaps (with all those ideas and more time), they should have cast a vote or two for more testing?

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This article originally appeared in my blog: All Things Quality
My name is Joe Strazzere and I'm currently a Director of Quality Assurance.
I like to lead, to test, and occasionally to write about leading and testing.
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1 comment:

  1. If Romney had equated voters with revenue, or perhaps defects with expenses, it would have made more sense to him...