Checkpoint: The US Census Bureau Field Data Collection Project: Don’t Count On It October 24th, 2012 IT/205 Professor Holt How important is the FDCA project for the US census Bureau? How does it impact decision making and operational activities? The purpose of the Field Data Collection Automation is extremely important because its purpose is to collect the US census. The census determines allocation of congressional seats, federal assistance, and realigns boundaries of legislative districts within states.
The intent of the FDCA is to collect respondent information and the goal is use handheld devices that would allow citizens to participate by only a signature, like signing for a package. This saves millions of pieces of paper and saves much time for the workers in charge of collecting the census. Other positive outcomes would be reduced, costs, improved data quality and better collection efficiency. Using paper methods to gather census information was very time-consuming and hard to organize. (Laudon & Laudon, 2011). Classify and describe the problems the Census Bureau faced in implementing its new wireless data collection system.
As of now, the handhelds were too slow and did not report data accurately and could not be relied upon to use in the 2010 census. The government does not use professionals to collect data, rather average pay by the day employees. This resulted in poor communication and the workers did not use appropriate testing procedures. Due to immature mobile technology, complex IT requirements of the new mobile devices, and accurate system requirements and scheduling information, this project failed. What people, organization, and technology factors caused these problems?
The people were the workers who were not accurately and efficiently trained how to operate this mobile device. The data they collected was often inaccurate. The census bureau director and the census organization did not anticipate the complexity of implementing such a device. The Harris Corporation, who was contracted to develop the devices did not understand the size and scale of the project and gave an inaccurate initial estimate. This led to an initial cost of around $3 billion of a total $11. 5 billion project cost. The actual cost, after correcting everything and basically wasting money, will approach $14. billion. The technology used with the mobile devices is very complex and would need accurate management and careful planning. I believe that as with all technology upgrades, there are good, sound intentions with goals of greater efficiency and less expense, this plan was not well thought or laid out. Describe the steps you would have taken to control the risk in this project. The first step I would have taken would to have assigned a management team specifically to oversee the device. To observe how it performs and collects information. Another team would have been assembled to deal with the collection of data itself.
Maybe to oversee a number of census workers and to assure that information taken was coming in accurately. Lastly, I would have assembled a team of managers to communicate with the developer of the device. A project this costly and important should have been seen through. The Harris Corporation should have been pressed hard to continue to update the project and the devices. I would make sure that all people involved in developing and using the device were held accountable. References Laudon, Kenneth C. & Laudon, Jane P. (2011). Essentials of MIS (9th ed. ) Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.