EPA looks for help in agile overhaul

The EPA building in Washington, D.C. (Wikimedia Commons)

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The Environmental Protection Agency wants industry’s help embedding agile software development practices across its enterprise.

The agency is launching a request for information from software contractors whose help it needs building agile development practices into EPA’s enterprisewide acquisition process. The RFI is expected sometime in February.

EPA’s Office of Digital Services and Technical Architecture enlisted the General Services Administration to assist with the acquisition using its Schedule 70 multiple award contract for IT.

The agency held an industry day in 2016 during which it proposed an agile BPA, similar to that created by GSA’s 18F digital services team, comprised of a pre-approved pool of agile vendors that would bid for work in areas like mobile app development, web app development, commercial-off-the-shelf customization or upgrades, data analysis and modeling, and new system development.

EPA’s vision for the agile contract has evolved since then, however, with added emphasis on cultural change and lasting, enterprisewide agile implementation.

The eventual acquisition would consist of three different contracts, the agency explains in a special announcement:

  • A multi-award, small business set-aside blanket purchase agreement for agile support services to transform EPA into an agile organization.
  • A single-award task order for agile lifecycle management services and tools to support the agency’s move to agile.
  • An unrestricted multi-award BPA for application development services for assistance on agile projects.

The contract “will provide access to multiple IT service vendors to yield cost and time savings, as well as, efficiency, agility, public availability, interoperability, and sustainability improvements of applications that are used to support the Agency’s mission of protecting human health and the environment.”

The EPA is currently on a contracting freeze directed by President Donald Trump’s administration. The constraints of the stoppage are unclear, and if it continues long enough, could threaten EPA’s ability to award this contract.

“A blunt, across the board halt on contracting actions will disrupt core government operations, drive away hard-to-find workers, and may cost more to restart than it saves by stopping,” PSC Professional Service Council President and CEO David Berteau wrote in a letter to EPA acting Administrator Catherine McCabe. “Absent problems with specific contracts, we strongly recommend that these actions be of the shortest duration possible.”

The EPA did not respond to FedScoop’s request for comment on how the contracting freeze could impact IT contracts, such at this one.

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