The Department of Veterans Affairs is bringing on an agile software development firm led by members of the 2013 Healthcare.gov fix-it team to support the continued build out of Vets.gov.
Ad Hoc LLC won a $12.9 million contract to support VA’s iterative, open-source development of a one-stop-shop for veterans’ services. The firm was co-founded by Paul Smith and Greg Gershman, both members of President Barack Obama’s Tech Surge team that worked on rescuing Healthcare.gov after its disastrous October 2013 initial rollout.
Launched On Veterans Day 2015 with very rudimentary features, Vets.gov is meant to provide vets with “seamless, integrated and responsive customer service experience” for all their VA services. The Digital Service team building the hub for VA is rolling it out in phases using agile development practices; very little has changed on the public-facing front end since the Nov. 11 launch.
Silver Spring, Maryland-based Ad Hoc, by the original contract solicitation, will support “the agile design, development, enhancement, testing, release and maintenance of various aspects of Vets.gov, including but not limited to platform and website design and development, content creation, application development, and identity authentication integration.”
“We’re very excited to work with VA on vets.gov. The project aligns with our company’s mission, to help government agencies build better digital services. We’re happy that VA recognized the unique experience and capabilities of our team and of our partners for this project,” said Gershman, also a principal of Ad Hoc.
Gershman and Smith founded Ad Hoc after realizing a need for the kind of support they offered for the Healthcare.gov fix.
They “were part of that original group, known as the ad hoc team, that went in and worked along side those who had built HealthCare.gov. Through their expert leadership and effort, they stabilized the site and ensured that millions of Americans were able to get affordable health coverage,” the Ad Hoc website states. They’ve made a full-time team out of it, “delivering and operating fast, stable, and well-designed services on behalf of U.S. federal and state government that enables agencies to provide transactional and informational services to consumers.”
Ad Hoc will enlist a few specialty subcontractors to assist with the support: the So Company, a user-center design consulting firm that will specialize in the site’s content strategy; ID.me, which will provide its specialized identity and access management platform for login challenges; and Accenture Federal Service, a large tech consulting firm and prior partner to VA.