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1997-08-30 10:11:48


IRS Spokeswoman Says, No Big Problem Here! Trust Me.


On August 22, I posted a message on Peter de Jager's discussion forum summarizing IRS's May 15 call for private firms to come in and fix its collapsing computer system, including repair all of the noncompliant code. On August 28, one of the forum's readers posted this letter from a lady at the IRS who assured him that things are doing just fine at the IRS.

I suggest that you go to my August 21 posting in the "Government" category: "IRS Issues SOS: Shutdown in 2000." Read the document. Then read the lady's letter again. Who do you believe: the man who runs the IS department of the IRS or this lady?

Let me say for the record that the only thing I am willing to accept on her say-so alone is the spelling of her name.

* * * * * * * *

From:Julia McCreary Sent:Wednesday, August 27, 1997 4:31 PM Subject:Re: FW: IRS RFC: For Modernization

IRS Year 2000 project is actually moving along smartly. Although we've never really thought of it as a benefit before, we are required to change a LOT of code every year, because Congress continues to fiddle with the tax code, sometimes lots, othertimes not so much, but even "little" changes can end up making huge impacts on any number of the modules within the 62 MLOC. You know how that goes.

We'll be about 65% done with our tax systems by January. The rest will be targeted for either July 98 or January 99. The code going to production in January is going to QA integration testing this week.

I know it's hard to hear, but we're actually doing pretty well. The CIO makes it his top priority - and everyone is working on it. Having 7500 IS folks who REALLY know their code, and change it pretty much every year (actually only half of those are programmers, still a sizable number) is a really boon in this case. The fact that our project plan addresses hardware upgrades, legal (litigation) issues, contracting issues, telecomm requirements, non-IS stuff(buildings, security) and has a whole team addressing the distributed systems out in the field, etc., etc., etc., may be the reason we feel so confident that we are really going to make it. Of course, you can never know about the hidden, in the corner, lurking in the darkness "gotchas", but for the known dangers, we're on our way.

But we accept our role as the agency everyone loves to hate. It's okay. We're pretty tough skinned.


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