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Agile Gov Playbook: Dissecting the New White House TechFAR Handbook

Aaron Pava
October 21, 2014

Agile Gov Playbook: Dissecting the New White House TechFAR Handbook

The White House recently created a new U.S Digital Services group to deliver “customer-focused government through smarter IT.”

As part of this announcement the Office of Management and Budget released the “Digital Services Playbook” and an accompanying “TechFAR Handbook for Procuring Digital Services Using Agile Processes” to make it easier for agencies to procure and implement agile.

In this presentation given at Agile DC 2014, we review the history of Agile procurement, the relevant Digital Services Playbook "plays," the TechFAR handbook objectives, key components and recommendations for getting agile adopted in your agency.

Aaron Pava

October 21, 2014

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  1. “I want us to ask ourselves every day, how are

    we using technology to make a real difference in people’s lives.” President Barack Obama
  2. Agile  Gov  Playbook   Dissecting  the  New     White

     House     TechFAR  Handbook Aaron  Pava   @pava
  3. November  2010 OMB  announces     structural  changes  to  

      agency  IT  management  and   acquisition
  4. March  2014  GSA  launches  18F  to     simplify  the

     government's   digital  services  
  5. “Too often, the lack of guidance encouraging agency use of

    innovative contracting practices results in narrow and overly rigid interpretations of federal acquisition rules that complicate the government's ability to adopt smarter ways of acquiring high-quality digital services.” Todd Park, Steve VanRoekel & Beth Cobert
  6. 13  Plays 1. Understand  what  people  need   2. Address

     the  whole  experience,  from  start  to  finish   3. Make  it  simple  and  intuitive   4. Build  the  service  using  agile  and  iterative  practices   5. Structure  budgets  and  contracts  to  support  delivery   6. Assign  one  leader  and  hold  that  person  accountable   7. Bring  in  experienced  teams   8. Choose  a  modern  technology  stack   9. Deploy  in  a  flexible  hosting  environment   10. Automate  testing  and  deployments   11. Manage  security  and  privacy  through  reusable  processes     12. Use  data  to  drive  decisions   13. Default  to  open
  7. Playbook  &  TechFAR Yes,  the  White  House  is  now  

    explicitly  authorizing  the     use  of  Agile!
  8. ❖ Ship  a  functioning  MVP   ❖ Run  usability  tests

     frequently   ❖ Close  communication;  daily  stand-­‐ups   ❖ Keep  delivery  teams  small  and  focused   ❖ Release  features  and  improvements  
 multiple  times  each  month   ❖ Create  a  prioritized  feature  backlog Play  4:  Agile
  9. ❖ Budget  research,  discovery,  &  prototyping   ❖ Contract  requests

     frequent  deliverables   ❖ Contract  allows  delivery  team  flexibility  to   adjust  feature  prioritization  as  project  evolves   ❖ Create  a  prioritized  feature  backlog Play  5:  Contracts
  10. “Following agile methodologies is a proven best practice for building

    digital services, and will increase our ability to build services that effectively meet user needs.” Digital Services Playbook
  11. ❖ IDIQ   ❖ Fixed-­‐price  model     ❖ Time-­‐and-­‐materials

     (T&M)   ❖ Labor-­‐Hour Types  of  Agile  Contracts
  12. Requirements Agile  software  development     can  meet  the  requirements

        of    FAR  15.203  by     identifying  a  Product  Vision
  13. Product  Vision ❖ For  (target  customer)   ❖ Who  (statement

     of  the  need  or  opportunity)     ❖ The  (product  name)  is  a  (product  category)     ❖ That  (key  benefit,  compelling  reason  to  buy)   ❖ Unlike  (primary  competitive  alternative)   ❖ Our  product  (statement  of  primary   differentiation)
  14. ❖ Use  presentations  as  part  of  the  technical   evaluation

        ❖ Integrate  agile  into  the  technical  factors  in  the   RFQ     ❖ Request  Agile  software  development-­‐specific   information  from  offerers     ❖ Evaluate  demonstrated  experience  with  agile   Tips  for  Agile  Solicitation
  15. “We've reviewed and fully support the materials in the Digital

    Services Playbook and TechFAR, it will assist all IT service acquisition stakeholders, notably program managers and contracting professionals as the documents address both procurement and implementation.” Mark Naggar, Procurement Advisor DHHS
  16. “Bottom line: federal CIOs should follow the playbook. These 13

    digital plays focusing on customer experience, leadership, DevOps and data analytics provide a solid foundation for addressing the challenges of delivering digital services.” Forrester Research
  17. Reference  Links ! U.S.  Digital  Services  Playbook   https://playbook.cio.gov  

    ! TechFAR  Handbook   https://playbook.cio.gov/techfar/   ! 25  Point  Implementation  Plan  to  Reform  Federal  IT  Management     https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/digital-­‐strategy/25-­‐ point-­‐implementation-­‐plan-­‐to-­‐reform-­‐federal-­‐it.pdf   ! ! Digital  Government:  Building  a  21st  Century  Platform  to     Better  Serve  the  American  People   http://www.whitehouse.gov/digitalgov