There’s hope for local procurement reform amid ongoing struggles

It’s not a secret that the procurement process is problematic across all levels of government in the United States. That’s certainly true in local jurisdictions.

The Promise ...Procurement has especially been a source of frustration in tech circles, where it might not be surprising for vendors to find a root canal more pleasant than dealing with cumbersome and antiquated municipal RFP processes usually designed for purchasing physical products than IT services.

While procurement problems persist, there’s some hope, too.

Keep reading this article at:

Should GSA drop 2-year requirement from IT Schedule 70?

The General Services Administration created IT Schedule 70 to help agencies buy technology products and services quickly.

GSA logoHowever, acquisition regulations restrict new companies from competing for a spot on the Schedule, which could limit access to some of the newest technologies.

As new companies emerge with new and useful IT products, GSA is looking to adapt and has issued a request for information on changes to Schedule 70 to broaden the pool of competition.

Keep reading this article at:

Why federal CIO Tony Scott hates end-of-year IT spending spree

The end-of-the-year spending spree — in which agencies cram contract spending into the last quarter of the fiscal year — is a time-honored tradition in government contracting.  

And Tony Scott, one of the Obama administration’s top tech officials, hates it.

Tony Scott is the federal government's Chief Information Officer and administrator of OMB’s Office of Electronic Government and Information Technology.
Tony Scott is the federal government’s Chief Information Officer and administrator of OMB’s Office of Electronic Government and Information Technology.

Since being named the federal chief information officer in February, the former corporate IT exec with stints at VMware, Microsoft and Disney said he’s come to learn about the “use-it-or-lose-it” nature of federal IT funding that fuels the annual spending spike.

“That’s just a really bad way to run IT,” he said August 26, 2015 during a presentation at the Digital Government Institute’s 930Gov conference in Washington.

The end-of-the-year pressure drives agencies into “exactly the wrong behavior,” Scott said: more short-term, even frivolous, spending and less of a focus on longer-term investments.

Keep reading this article at:

Army tries to speed cyber acquisition process

The Army is trying to speed cyber-related acquisition by using a template known as the Information Technology Box.

Officials said the goal is to quickly supply soldiers with IT tools such as sensors, forensics and “insider threat discovery capabilities” in a matter of weeks rather than the months or years a traditional acquisition might take.

“Cyber doesn’t fit the traditional acquisition process that you would use to deliver a tank,” said Kevin Fahey, executive director of the Army’s System of Systems Engineering and Integration Directorate, in an article on the Army’s website.

IT Box Model

Keep reading this article at:

Can government be agile?

Agile is having a moment. With a promise of faster and better outcomes for everything from start-ups to the labyrinthine federal government approach to services procurement, the agile way is very much in the spotlight.

But along with this sudden fame comes the inevitable oversimplifications and forced contrasts, such as the supposed clash of the methodologies that pits agile against formal project management.

U.S. Digital ServiceThis is an artificial debate. The truth is that these two approaches can and do co-exist successfully. Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements; agile allows teams to deliver projects piece-by-piece and make rapid adjustments as needed. Agile is not done in place of managing a project. Instead, it is frequently introduced as a way to speed up phases of a project.

TechFAR Handbook TOC 08.2015With its promise of a faster path to the right results and more satisfied customers – especially on complex projects – it’s no wonder that agile is a cornerstone of U.S. CIO Tony Scott’s mission to vastly improve customer satisfaction with federal technology services. This Agenda has already yielded such practical tools as the Digital Services Playbook—actually released and made public by Scott’s predecessor Todd Park—whose 13 plays from proven private sector best practices include Play 4, “Build the service using agile and iterative processes.” There is also the TechFAR Handbook, a helpful guide to flexibilities in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) that can make it easier for agencies to implement plays in the Playbook through acquisition.

Keep reading this article at: