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 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 roles 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 About.com 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.


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