18F

A bot named for a 'West Wing' character helps onboard 18F's new hires

cyber education

A bot is easing the transition for new hires at 18F. Dolores Landingham sends friendly messages to new 18F employees so they don't face a giant information dump their first week on the job.

Mrs. Landingham, as the bot is affectionately known, provides all sorts of helpful tips for new hires from filling out forms and understanding what certain terms mean to knowing how to participate in work discussions, according to a recent 18F blog post. The bot is part of an orientation effort that also includes checklists and classes.

Mrs. Landingham is on Slack, the communications tool 18F and many other workplaces use for collaboration. In the blog post, developer Jessie Young wrote that receiving a Slack message "feels more fun and immediate than other mediums, such as email, which would help with our goal of 'not stressing out new employees.'"

Once per day, Mrs. Landingham sends a new message. The technology behind the bot is a Rails app with a database of new 18F employees' Slack names, start dates and scheduled messages.

Fans of the TV drama "The West Wing" will recognize the bot's name. Dolores Landingham was the president's executive secretary on the show.

About the Author

Bianca Spinosa is an Editorial Fellow at FCW.

Spinosa covers a variety of federal technology news for FCW including workforce development, women in tech, and the intersection of start-ups and agencies. Prior to joining FCW, she was a TV journalist for more than six years, reporting local news in Virginia, Kentucky, and North Carolina. Spinosa is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Writing at George Mason University, where she also teaches composition. She earned her B.A. from the University of Virginia.

Click here for previous articles by Spinosa, or connect with her on Twitter: @BSpinosa.


Featured

  • Contracting
    8 prototypes of the border walls as tweeted by CBP San Diego

    DHS contractors face protests – on the streets

    Tech companies are facing protests internally from workers and externally from activists about doing for government amid controversial policies like "zero tolerance" for illegal immigration.

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    At OPM, Weichert pushes direct hire, pay agent changes

    Margaret Weichert, now acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, is clearing agencies to make direct hires in IT, cyber and other tech fields and is changing pay for specialized occupations.

  • Cloud
    Shutterstock ID ID: 222190471 By wk1003mike

    IBM protests JEDI cloud deal

    As the deadline to submit bids on the Pentagon's $10 billion, 10-year warfighter cloud deal draws near, IBM announced a legal protest.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.