As efforts move forward toward an end of November deadline to fix the troubled healthcare.gov website, new issues are being revealed in the process, according to a report from Reuters/via Yahoo:

The Obama administration’s HealthCare.gov adviser Jeffrey Zients said on Friday that the trouble-plagued federal healthcare website is improving, but that higher volumes of visitors are exposing new capacity and software issues.

In a conference call with reporters, Zients said progress this week has been marred by roadblocks. He described HealthCare.gov as being “a long way from where it needs to be.”

Late last month Zients said the website would be running properly by late November.  But it’s interesting to note that Zients was careful with his words in October when he said, “By the end of November, HealthCare.gov will work smoothly for the vast majority of users.”

In her testimony before a Senate Committee earlier this week, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services administrator Marilyn Tavenner was equally careful in her words.  She said that programmers were on track to insure that the “experience on the site will be smooth for the vast majority of users” by the end of November, according to the Washington Post.

Such is the challenge with a project like healthcare.gov.  On technology projects, it’s customary to run numerous test cases that simulate a multitude of variables and predefined scenarios a user might encounter on the site, as part of the overall testing plan.  But as we’ve since learned in numerous news reports and memos, testing of the site, most notably end-to-end testing of the whole system, had been far from adequate prior to launch.  The end result in such a situation is that you can’t necessarily even identify all the issues, let alone fix them, until people (be it testers or live users) use the site and encounter and report issues.

The administration seems to be trying to give itself some flexibility in its end of November commitment, but it’s likely that as more people try to use the site, new issues will continue to arise.  That’s of course what you want when you’re trying to whip a site into proper working order, but it seems useless to point out now that these are activities that should have been far more thoroughly performed before the site launched.

President Obama meanwhile, in voicing his own frustration about the website’s problems, told a crowd on Friday, “I wanted to go in and fix it myself but I don’t write code.”