23 March 2010


It cost $1B (that's billion-with-a-B).

It took 12 years.

Over 600 people worked to integrate 90 different systems.

All it delivered was an unpronounceable acronymn, according to the SecDef.

DIMHRS - the Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System was supposed to be an integrated, state-of-the-art payroll and personnel system. The Chariman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff called it a disaster when it was cancelled last month (it was originally supposed to go operational in April 2006).

Gosh, who could have seen that coming?

And the worst part of it is, the DoD saw the problems on the horizon and they had an alternative. According to this article:

"Six years ago, after multiple pay problems surfaced again for mobilized personnel, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service stopped waiting for DIMHRS and announced it would phase in a more reliable, effective interim pay system, the Forward Compatible Payroll. This new system promised far fewer errors, an easy-to-read Leave and Earnings Statement and instantaneous adjustments to pay records. But the Forward Compatible Payroll never started. The rationale seemed to be: Why spend millions more on an interim payroll fix when DIMHRS was so near?"

Apparently, DIMHRS in the mirror wasn't as close as it appeared.

Just one more data point supporting the wisdom of simple, incremental, interim solutions, developed on shorter timelines and smaller budgets. Of course, we don't know for sure that FCP would have worked, because it wasn't tried. But I don't think it could have been much worse than DIMHRS.

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