Saturday, August 15, 2015

The White House and Agile Methods

I don't often look to the White House for guidance on project management, and less frequently (never?) for their view of agile methods. Nonetheless, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) are on the case.

OMB in particular runs the gov's CIO Council which coordinates government IT throughout the executive departments by means of each department's CIO. OMB also runs the new (as of August, 2014) U.S. Digital Services.

In turn, the Digital Services has published two guidance documents that are targeted at deploying agile methods throughout the government.

The first is the "Digital Playbook" which describes a dozen or so "plays" (somewhat as a sports analogy of plays).  But the interesting one is the "TechFar Handbook" which you can read and download from this github location.

The TechFar Handbook subtitle is: "handbook for procuring digital services using agile methods". It is structured more or less in a Q&A format, divided among sections. It takes off from the authority in FAR 39.103 which is all about modular contracting authority and procedure. It then shows the compatibility between agile and the intent of modular contracting, and it gives hints on how to "stretch"-- within the law -- to be more modular.

Sounds like it is all going in the right direction. Let's all cheer the U.S. Digital Services

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