As with most large organizations, US government agencies at both the federal and state level are realizing that traditional ways of building key applications for their operations are no longer working. Lengthy requirements documents, a focus on the contract rather than the deliverable and a “big design up front” mentality have led to highly visible failures, most notably Healthcare.Gov in 2013.
To break this cycle, the state of California solicited proposals for a four week proof of concept for a child welfare portal – asking not for extensive documentation or RFP submissions, but for a real, working software prototype and open source code that could be shared, scrutinized and tested. Passing this test would be a prerequisite for future work with the state in this arena. This was a full spectrum test for our Labs capabilities, cracking the organizational problem alongside delivering high quality technical products.