18F readies agile BPA

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The General Services Administration’s 18F agile development arm has released a much-anticipated request for quotes for blanket purchase agreements aimed at digital services developers.

The agency's 18-page RFQ aims to establish a “streamlined and common contracting vehicle” for federal agencies looking for vendors specializing in agile delivery services user-centered design, agile architecture, agile software development and DevOps.

The impending release of the agile delivery services blanket purchase agreement (ADS I BPA) was unveiled June 15 in an 18F team member blog post.

"As you’ll see in the RFQ, we are requiring vendors currently on GSA Schedule 70 who want to be on the Agile Delivery BPA to compete among three pools: a design pool (a total set aside for small business), a development pool (also a total set aside for small business), and a full-stack pool (unrestricted)," 18F team members V David Zvenyach, Chris Cairns, and Noah Kunin wrote in the post. "When the competition is completed, and awards are made, the vendors will be working on 18F projects, for our internal needs, and for our partner agencies."

Zvenyach, Cairns and Kunin said 18F is requiring vendors to submit a working prototype based on a public dataset and show their work in a publicly available GitHub repository.

18F's use of GSA's Schedule 70 for the agile BPAs is a little surprising, but it also shows the enduring appeal of the schedule, said Larry Allen, president of Allen Consulting.

"A bit of a surprise, since schedules have been downplayed inside GSA in favor of shiny new GWAC's [government wide acquisition contracts]," he said  "Still, this shows that schedule contracts are a great go-to place to get both innovation and substantial small business participation. … It shows that [Schedule 70] doesn't really deserve its reputation of being a bit behind the curve."

Deputy federal CIO Lisa Schlosser, speaking at the CIO Council symposium in Washington, D.C., urged agency IT leaders to "be the change agent in your organization that says I am going to use an agile BPA, an agile contract for my next development project where I'm delivering incrementally, I'm delivering value, new code, new functionality every couple of weeks instead of every couple of years as we have traditionally done. ... Be the one that says, I know that's there and I'm going to use it for my next project and I'm going to demonstrate success by using that new way of doing business."

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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