Agile Development

Social Security plans pivot to agile

Agile Development Stock Image

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 executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy, health IT and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mr. Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian started his career as an arts reporter and critic, and has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, Architect magazine, and other publications. He was an editorial assistant and staff writer at the now-defunct New York Press and arts editor at the online network in the 1990s, and was a weekly contributor of music and film reviews to the Washington Times from 2007 to 2014.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Shutterstock image: looking for code.

    How DOD embraced bug bounties -- and how your agency can, too

    Hack the Pentagon proved to Defense Department officials that outside hackers can be assets, not adversaries.

  • Shutterstock image: cyber defense.

    Why PPD-41 is evolutionary, not revolutionary

    Government cybersecurity officials say the presidential policy directive codifies cyber incident response protocols but doesn't radically change what's been in practice in recent years.

  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group