Federal List

4 signs agencies are serious about agile

Federal IT executives have been talking about agile development for years, but the iterative approach is now being incorporated into contracting requirements.

1. T4NG: The next generation of the Department of Veterans Affairs' Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology contract vehicle specifies incremental development for managing task orders. Like its predecessor, T4NG is expected to have a lifetime value of more than $10 billion.

2. ATF case management: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is in the market for a new case management system, and it's looking for a solution that uses commercial software as much as possible. The April procurement specifies that interested contractors list their qualifications and certifications in agile development.

3. Social Security Administration: SSA's $1.7 billion IT budget puts it ahead of NASA and the State Department when it comes to big technology spenders. A June report from McKinsey and Co. that was critical of a scrapped $300 million disability claims-processing system advised the adoption of agile practices -- advice that the agency appears to have taken to heart with a call to industry for information on agile project management systems.

4. HealthCare.gov: After the site's disastrous launch last October, officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services want to make sure the site's development is done incrementally, with frequent releases and testing. Their solicitation for the management of HealthCare.gov specifies that the contractor "shall use an iterative agile methodology to system development that provides the best opportunity to build and test software functionality."

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