The city's IT overhaul is not going so well. Here's how to do better - Philly


Aug. 10, 2017 12:42 pm

The city’s IT overhaul is not going so well. Here’s how to do better

Reporter emeritus Juliana Reyes penned a op-ed on finding a better path forward for City Hall's tech efforts.

Philly CIO Charlie Brennan speaks before City Council in April.

(Photo by Roberto Torres)

A story by Inquirer reporter Claudia Vargas revealed Friday that the city’s IT upgrades have gone over-budget by $21 million and are significantly delayed.

In an talk-back op-ed titled “‘Fight the culture of shame’: Why Philly’s tech upgrades fail and how we can fix them”,’s Juliana Reyes shared some thoughts on how to improve efficiency in the tech space. One of the more eye-catching suggestions? “Do what startups do.”

Yes, this line is getting old and there are definitely lots of things tech companies do wrong, but when it comes to developing software, startups have it down to a science. Build a working prototype, known in startup circles as a “minimum viable product.” Get user feedback and apply it. Repeat as necessary. When governments execute tech projects, they often favor one big release, which leaves no room for evolution along the way.

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In her piece, Reyes also pointed to shaking up the way the office goes about getting talent in the door, suggesting ODDT’s fellowship program as a “promising” solution.

Earlier this year, we caught CIO Charlie Brennan’s presentation at City Council’s budget hearings. At the time, Brennan doubled down on his focus on legacy projects like fixing the city’s phone lines. It’s in line with what was expected of the former beat cop that took over the city’s top tech job early last year.



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