Month: February 2015

Getting started with Agile government

Yesterday, I participated in an Agile Government Leadership panel discussion on “Agile Government 101.”

Fellow panelists included Laura Stanton (General Services Administration), Son Tran, Broadcasting Board of Governors, Elizabeth Raley (CivicActions), Chris Cairns and Robert L. Read (18F).

It was an excellent discussion that went a little beyond the basics, and there were a number of questions we didn’t get to, but overall it’s a helpful introduction that includes some great panelist anecdotes. If you missed the live discussion, you can watch the video and post follow-up questions to the AGL LinkedIn group.

For more on getting started with agile government, check out the Agile Government Handbook.


Feds finally get some Slack

SlackIn slightly surprising but welcomed news, the U.S. General Services Administration announced approved terms of service agreements for the collaboration service Slack.

From GSA:

The team communication platform, Slack, is a collaborative working area. The tool has an array of features – one-on-one messaging, private groups, persistent chat rooms, direct messaging – and is available as both an app and web platform. Users are able to search all of the content in a team’s Slack through one search box. This TOS agreement was negotiated by the Department of State.

Other newly-approved services include IFTTT, StackExchange and Trello.

U.S. Department of Energy has a new chief data officer

Photo: U.S. Department of Energy

Photo: U.S. Department of Energy

According to a U.S. Project Open Data GitHub pull request, it appears the U.S. Department of Energy has named Dave Dutton as its chief data officer.

Dutton has officially held the title since January, and previously worked in data management related positions at Freddie Mac, McDonald’s and EDS.

From his LinkedIn profile related to his new role:

We will offer enterprise data services to eliminate silos, improve the reliability of data, and reduce security risks. We will also provide public-facing data services that are open for all consumers to use. Moreover, we will use digital and traditional mediums to deliver and receive high-value data and information in an easily discoverable, retrievable, and recordable format that promotes transparency with appropriate consumers. We will continue to strengthen our electronic and paper records management capability. All of these efforts will be supplemented by providing training and communications to the DOE workforce on the importance of records management and sharing data and information in a secure manner.

Much like new U.S. Department of Transportation Chief Data Officer Dan Morgan, Dutton has an important and enormous task of managing and making public large amounts of data and leveraging this to impact environmental, energy and sustainability changes throughout the world.

AGL launches Agile Government Handbook

Agile Government Handbook

I’m fortunate to engage with many great people on a number of rewarding projects, but the work I’ve been doing on Agile Government Leadership has been particularly fulfilling, both personally and professionally, because it addresses a fundamental approach to making government IT more efficient and successful.

When I first started collaborating with CivicActions a year ago, researching key components of successful government IT implementations, we delved deeper into Agile and how government was deploying, or trying to figure out how to deploy it, within the confines of the bureaucracy.

One of the recurring issues I heard, from both government employees and contractors, was that there needed to be a basic understanding of what Agile was in the context of government. There is an “Agile divide” between those who fully grok and are practicing it, and those who hear and process it only as a buzzword or passing trend or something unrelated to functions outside of technology project management.

So, taking the research I did with CivicActions, and working with the AGL steering committee, we created the Agile Government Handbook, to help bridge that Agile divide.

From AGL Steering committee member Elizabeth Raley announcing the handbook:

The handbook provides an overview of the agile development methodology, benefit, roles, key terms, checklists and resources that begin to help demystify Agile in the context of government.

We are very excited about this resource and, in true Agile fashion, will continue to iterate and build on it with the support and involvement of the community.

I’m extremely proud of getting this first aspect of the AGL work out the door and look forward to sharing other AGL projects that build on this as the year progresses.

You can find the handbook at, download and re-purpose from the GitHub repo or share your suggestions on how we can make this better.

To learn more about Agile government and AGL, join the AGL LinkedIn group, follow on Twitter and subscribe to the newsletter.

Also, if you’re interested in getting more involved, please feel free to contact me directly at

Buenos Aires citizens get a simpler way to login to government

My Buenos Aires


As part of a broad effort to simplify access to government services, Buenos Aires now offers citizens and visitors a digital identity system that provides for single sign-on and personal dashboards.

The service, “Mi Buenos Aires,” gives citizens centralized access to city services such as “appointments for health services, job opportunities and social benefits” via one username and password.

Buenos Aires is using OpenID Connect, which provides an out-of-the-box solution that includes metrics, addresses security and data privacy concerns and can sync into other services at the national level.

Eventually, the city wants to allow third-party access to leverage its public application programming interface and easily verify users via the ID system. According to its roadmap, an alpha version will be available in September 2015.

“Mi BA” is much like the single sign-on efforts in Estonia and the UK, and the seemingly stalled aspirations of Project MyUSA.

(HT Daniel Abadie)