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FCW : July 30, 2015
How one company is embracing agile 20 July 30, 2015 FCW.COM T he scrum meeting starts, and some dozen members of a team spread across the country fire off status updates, questions and a “balance score.” It’s scheduled to take 15 minutes yet runs closer to 25, but the crew doesn’t waste a moment and dives right into a second call, a retrospective look at the project that has dominated everyone’s schedule at CivicActions for the past few weeks: the General Services Administration’s blanket purchase agreement for agile services. The team members at CivicActions are confident that they’re doing agile right as organizations from GSA’s 18F to the old guard of contracting struggle to embrace the technique. A way of life, not a buzzword “Agile software development is transformative,” said Aaron Pava, the company’s co-founder and chief experience officer (recruiter, salesman and pep squad all in one). The General Services Administration’s 18F released a much-anticipated request for quotations last month seeking to build an easily accessed pool of agile GSA Schedule 70 vendors through a novel process, and in response CivicAc- tions embarked on a 10-day dash to get it done. Instead of just a quote, 18F asked vendors to produce a working product using Food and Drug Administration data. CivicActions got in touch with real users of FDA data on the first day — user-centered design in practice — and banged out https://sideeffect.io in little more than a week. The app com- pares the number of reported side effects for a list of drugs. An agile mentality permeates everything CivicActions does, Pava said, even following the team home in a way. The “bal- ance score” is a self-reported measure of how people are feeling on personal, professional and spiritual levels. The CivicActions offers an inside look at how it is using agile development to respond to 18F’s RFQ BY ZACH NOBLE The CivicActions team, which often meets via a Google Hangout, is built around the agile methodologies that 18F is trying to encourage in federal IT acquisition. 0730fcw_020-0121.indd 20 7/14/15 9:19 AM
July 15, 2015
August 15, 2015