18F’s startup-friendly agile BPA hits first hurdle — a protest

A long-awaited contracting vehicle designed to help federal agencies buy agile development services has hit its first roadblock.

18F at GSALess than a month after the General Services Administration awarded 16 companies spots on the Agile Blanket Purchase Agreement — a pre-approved list of digital vendors — GSA confirmed to Nextgov it has received protests in connection with the deal.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.nextgov.com/cio-briefing/2015/09/18fs-startup-friendly-agile-bpa-hits-first-hurdle-protest/121223

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: http://www.nextgov.com/cio-briefing/2015/08/federal-cio-tony-scott-hates-end-year-it-spending-spree/119696

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: http://fcw.com/articles/2015/08/27/army-cyber-acquisition.aspx

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: http://www.federaltimes.com/story/government/management/blog/2015/08/07/can-government-agile/31293553/

GSA pushes for new and improved acquisition tools

Chris Hamm, the director of the General Services Administration’s Federal System Integration and Management Center, said government contracting costs too much and takes too much time.

GSA logo“The process is incredibly costly to you and it’s incredibly costly to the government,” Hamm said at a recent contracting conference. “I think the entire system is broken.”

That is why GSA is pushing to use new tools, techniques and processes to make the solicitation and contracting processes easier, faster and cheaper — and contractors should be watching closely.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federaltimes.com/story/government/acquisition/2015/07/17/gsa-pushes-new-improved-acquisition-tools/30079605/