Three recent stories demonstrate how opening up federal government data and using agile methods to create federal government software can spur innovation while saving tax money and helping the American public.
In its Second Open Government National Action Plan (PDF, 639 KB, 5 pages, September 2014), the White House called for a government-wide policy on open source software. Recently, the Office of Management and Budget released a draft policy “to improve the way custom-developed government code is acquired and distributed moving forward.” Agencies are encouraged to use open source software and standards to develop government software. This software will also be made available to all federal agencies and, for some of the source code, to the public. As the policy states, the benefits will include creating communities of interest around the software and APIs* to crowdsource the maintenance and testing of the software. The policy is open to public comment. It will be interesting to see how the public responds to this unprecedented access to federal government software resources.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is introducing a new agile development framework to help in building IT applications faster and more effectively. The “Veteran-focused Integration Process” (VIP) will use Scrum which is an iterative and agile process to build software applications. According to a VA blog post, VIP will reduce the number of documents and decision processes needed to create the software while security will be introduced earlier into the application building process.
*API – Application Programming Interface. How software programs and databases share data and functions with each other. Check out APIs in Government for more information.
(All references to specific brands and/or companies are used only for illustrative purposes and do not imply endorsement by the U.S. federal government or any federal government agency.)
Each week, The Data Briefing showcases the latest federal data news and trends.
Dr. William Brantley is the Training Administrator for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Global Intellectual Property Academy. You can find out more about his personal work in open data, analytics, and related topics at BillBrantley.com. All opinions are his own and do not reflect the opinions of the USPTO or GSA.
Have feedback or questions? Send us an email »