The General Services Administration’s 18F digital services team has awarded Reston, Virginia-based TrueTandem LLC a $150,000 contract to build out a dashboard for the parent agency’s Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program.
The project is the first 18F has awarded under its agile development services blanket purchase agreement contract, which pools together contractors vetted in agile software design to build tools in a rapid, iterative, incremental, and user-centered manner.
Fourteen of the 17 teams that comprise pool three of the agile BPA bid for work on the project, with an average offer of $120,626.54. TrueTandem’s winning bid came in a bit above that at $153,782.05. Vendors were evaluated based on a compliance check and oral presentation rather than the traditional standard submittal of a lengthy proposal.
The dashboard is meant to provide greater visibility and up-to-date status for vendors going through the FedRAMP certification process, ultimately reducing customer burden, improving data-driven planning, and providing FedRAMP and the Office of Management and Budget “a better overall view of agency compliance and vendor status in the certification pipeline,” the performance work statement says.
The award is a departure from the traditional long-winded government contracting process. Work will be preformed in two-week sprints with daily standup meetings through video, communication through the Slack collaboration tool, the updating of workflow and user stories through a shared project management platform, like GitHub. At the end of each two-week sprint, the team and stakeholders determine acceptability before moving forward.
Every award under the agile BPA will adhere to the U.S. Web Design Standards, which ensures consistency across government-operated domains, as well as 18F’s open source policy and accessibility guidelines. And rather than providing traditional direct status reports to the agency, TrueTandem will show its progress in the open through its required GitHub page for the project.
The agile BPA was awarded under the umbrella of GSA’s IT Schedule 70 governmentwide contract. Officials say it’s a way for 18F to meet the exploding demand for digital services development it has seen in the past two years.
“Agency demand is just explosive,” Noah Kunin, director of delivery architecture at 18F, said in February 2015 when the group first introduced the idea for the BPA. “Increasingly we know we are not going to be the one solution, so that’s why we want to create a marketplace for private industry to come in and [fulfill] the needs that we will never be able to scale to.”
“Really, this agile services delivery vehicle is one way we hope to meet that ongoing demand,” he said.
Currently, 18F has three other solicitations in the works under the BPA: one of its own for work on its under-development identity management platform, as well as projects from the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Labor that require some agile help.
While 18F negotiated this first task order on behalf of its own parent agency, GSA, the BPA is open to agencies governmentwide for which the digital team will help procure agile development services.
“18F was created to deliver innovative products to the American people, and as part of that mission, we created the Agile BPA as a way to work with new vendors and use innovative procurement techniques to help drive better outcomes. We look forward to working with the selected vendor on delivering an open source solution for the FedRAMP dashboard, and we are excited to work with other vendors on future projects and with FAS and our industry partners to improve our process going forward,” a GSA spokesperson told FedScoop in an email.
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