Agile Development

Social Security plans pivot to agile

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What: A call for vendors to supply an agile project management tool for the Social Security Administration.

Why: The Social Security Administration spends more on IT than NASA. The core product is the Data Center, with information on earnings, benefits, and demographics for all Americans contributing or receiving payments from the Social Security system. SSA is in the midst of an 18-month migration of its data operations to a new 300,000 square foot facility that is still under construction.

On June 24, SSA put out a call to industry seeking sources for a system to track IT projects using the agile development method. While agile methods work well in small, startup environments, it can be tricky to scale them across a large enterprise, with a geographically distributed workforce. The SSA request suggests that it is considering how to solve the sorts of  problems involved in putting its internal development processes on an iterative, just-in-time footing.

The tool must be able to support the development of design requirements as stories, and track those stories as pieces of a larger "epic;" give project managers the ability to assign tasks and issue deadlines; track time estimates against the actual time required for completion; and keep tabs on multiple projects.

There are a variety of commercial software-as-a-service products that could fit the bill. At present, there's no formal solicitation planned.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is a staff writer covering Congress, the FCC and other key agencies. Connect with him on Twitter: @thisismaz.

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