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 and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

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


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