The Collaboration Process
As noted above, this project was created, developed and implemented in about nine months. While the climate was right for such a venture, pressure was very intense due to the compressed time line. The collaborators "fell in place" as the project commenced. Brewer's donation of the search engine, while controversial in the software industry, removed one of the main barriers to project development. The project team needed to neither find the funding for such a high ticket tool, nor did they need to invent their own. The General Services Administration had the staff and the organization to contribute to the project which substantively enhanced the resources. The CIO Council supported the development and were successful, in varying degrees to getting the federal agencies' web sites "cleaned up" and ready to be online by September 22, 2000.
One of the partners noted an incident that occurred right before the scheduled public launch of the portal. Content and software problems were discovered which could mean that the launch date would have to be postponed-a situation that no one in the project wanted to occur. Over a weekend period, people at the GSA and other vendors involved in the development were able to find, contact, and transport the relevant personnel to fix the problem; a complex and labor intensive incident which ended well. It was just not an option to any of the partners that FirstGov.gov would not launch on time.