Bruce Webster, an IT expert with 30 years of experience consulting with dozens of private companies, says that in restructuring a massively troubled project such as Healthcare.gov, there are typically four approaches:

1) adding time to the schedule;

2) reducing (or accepting reduced) functionality — i.e., scaling back on the features and capabilities of the system;

3) reducing (or accepting reduced) performance, such as the number of simultaneous users, the speed of response, and so on;

4) reducing (or accepting reduced) quality, that is, allowing known defects to persist while documenting workarounds.

“If the administration really wants to declare this ‘fixed’ by the end of November, they will likely do it by reducing functionality, performance, and possibly even quality,” Webster says. “The push to end of November represents some adding of time to the schedule; the qualifier ‘vast majority of users’ suggests both reduced functionality and possible additional schedule relief (for instance, some users won’t be handled until later).”