We just shipped two new features in Screendoor, and we think they’re so awesome that we couldn’t wait to tell you about them.
This past weekend, DOBT participated in Code Across 2014, a nationwide hackathon where community members and local governments come together to develop tools and applications that improve their communities. We’ve attended events like this before, but this weekend was special because we had just launched OpenRFPs, our community-based initiative to democratize RFP data across the country.
Tomorrow at CodeAcross we’ll be launching our first community-based project, OpenRFPs. The goal is to liberate the data inside of every state RFP listing website in the country. We hope you’ll find your own state’s RFP site, and contribute a parser.
Our mission at DOBT is to help government agencies create delightful experiences for their users, and we do this by supplying them with beautiful, modern software and technology talent. Convincing skilled engineers to work in an industry that is known for its beauracracy and sluggishness isn’t easy, but we work hard to create a pipeline where top tier technical talent can work on stuff that matters.
We’ve been heads-down on our flagship product, Screendoor, our software that makes it easy for you to list projects online – like jobs, RFPs, and apps contests – and find the winning responses. You might think, from our recent blogposts, that all DOBT does is yammer on about procurement reform and build silly Hubot scripts. Not so! Let’s take a look at some of the great new features we’re rolling out in Screendoor.
When Clay and I first started working together, we quickly realized that we are both total nerds when it comes to team productivity. In just a few weeks, we had built the first version of MorningCheckin, a lightweight app that lets each team member “check in” every morning and let others know what they “got done” the previous day and what they intend to “get done” today. Our team started using MorningCheckin fastidiously, but after a few months the habit just wasn’t sticking. When we arrived at our office in the morning, the first thing we wanted to do was open a new browser tab, wait for MorningCheckin to load, and craft a new checkin using its special syntax.
Today, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo and Congressman Gerry Connolly released the Reform Federal Procurement for Information Technology Act. We think it’s an important second component to the already-through-the-House Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act.
Ever since Barack Obama said that he wanted to ”blow up how we procure for IT” there’s been a lot of talk about holistic, comprehensive solutions to the fix. Heck, we at the Department even have an seven chapter ebook called How To Fix Procurement.
The typical response from the government contracting incumbency is that the biggest issue holding back technical performance is poor project management – the current vendors are good and can do their jobs, but the program managers inside of government constantly derail their sophisticated approaches with changing expectations, political scheduling, and lack of knowledge. If we only had better people in government, the idea goes, the smart contractor – would be able to do our jobs well.
There's been a lot of talk about fixing IT procurement lately. And while most of it is focused on the federal level, large IT failures happen at the state and local level too. There's not a city or state government that we can yet point to that has a truly modern procurement environment.
Fixing IT procurement is going to take a lot of people and a lot of attention to get right. In that spirit, If you'd like to be involved with fixing procurement here are some questions to ask in your local community in order to understand how procurement is set up: