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.
Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities started planning a new billing and customer information system back in 2012. Like so many other software projects, this one went wrong. And the wrongs have been compounding ever since.