The IT of politics

Much can be (and has been) written about the politics of IT: the intra-team relationships, the relationships with customers, and the C-level maneuvering. Less is said about the IT of politics. Not necessarily the IT issues of government agencies (NSA surveillance, missing IRS emails, and the ACA enrollment website disaster being three recent examples), but the IT efforts that power the political campaigns themselves.

Ars Technica recently reported on a research paper that examined the use of social media by the Obama and Romney campaigns in the 2012 presidential election. While Obama’s social media team was given some autonomy and reacted to events as they happened, Romney’s team had a greater level of bureaucratic control and schedule. Granted, social media is much more of a marketing issue than an IT issue, but it reinforces earlier reporting about the analytics and volunteer management platforms.

Politics aside, the IT organizations would seem to reflect the backgrounds of the candidates. The results of the respective projects, while hardly inevitable, don’t seem very surprising. There’s a wealth of project management knowledge to be gained from examining the development and deployment of Orca and Narwhal. That is, if they can be studied without the politics.

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