How NCIS Went Badly Wrong

Thanks to a public disclosure request and some helpful folks at SPU’s public information office, I got copies of the monthly reports of Tim Almond, the QA consultant for the troubled NCIS project. NCIS is the new billing and customer-service IT system for Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities that has been under development for the last two and a half years, and is now a year late and $43 million over their original budget.  Almond’s monthly reports paint a harrowing picture of a project that went wrong early, often, and predictably.

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Council struggles with how to pay for Office of Labor Standards

The City Council has put in a lot of worthwhile hours working on labor regulations to protect vulnerable workers — most recently on “secure scheduling” and paid family leave. They have also clarified that the Office of Labor Standards (OLS) is on point to enforce them. But the laws are meaningless if OLS doesn’t have the manpower to enforce them — and that means finding money.

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NCIS hearing: things were learned.

This afternoon the City Council conducted a hearing on the NCIS billing and customer service IT system being co-developed by Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle City Light, and SeattleIT, the city’s newly-consolidated IT department. It was neither the bloodbath I expected, nor was it a font of revelations as to why a $66 million project went $43 million over budget. But if you listened carefully, arranged the puzzle pieces just so, and squinted a little bit, you could make out roughly what happened — and the rough waters ahead.

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