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Notorious New York City CityTime Payroll Project Nearly Complete

Amazing what the motivation of the hangman's noose can produce

1 min read
Notorious New York City CityTime Payroll Project Nearly Complete

The Wall Street Journal yesterday reported that New York City's infamous CityTime payroll tracking project is "essentially completed." The project was originally scheduled to cost $68 million but will end up costing some $722 million and has been plagued by accusations of fraud. The WSJ reports that the project will be fully finished by the end of June.

The CityTime contract with the project's prime contractor, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), was restructured in September of last year after some tense negotiations. As part of the restructuring, New York City demanded that SAIC complete the project by June of 2011, when it would receive a final payment of $32 million. If not, the city would withhold the payment until the project was finished as well as charge SAIC $3 million for each month it took past the deadline.

An audit released in September by the New York City Comptroller's Office reported that as of June of last year, after almost 12 years of effort and $628 million spent, the project covered only 58 of 81 New York City agencies, with approximately 58,000 of the required 161,000 city employees using the system.

Funny how a fixed deadline and a monetary (dis)incentive motivated so much of the remaining work to be done in such a short amount of time.

PHOTO: iStockphoto

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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