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10 Questions for Obama's Chief Technology Officer -

Stashed in: Lean, @ericries, Obama!

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Interesting reading in advance of Todd Park's upcoming testimony before the House Oversight committee. 

Cool to see that Todd Park is a big fan of Lean Startups:

It’s hard to actually build anything new, but it turns out if you apply a lot of the same techniques that make Silicon Valley companies successful to internally change parts of the government, they definitely work.

The way they operate is modeled on a philosophy called “lean start-up,” which was popularized recently by Eric Ries. You want to build small, interdisciplinary, agile teams that have strategy, policy, ops and tech all represented in one team, all working to solve one problem. Secondly, there’s an emphasis on rapid prototype. You don’t think aircraft carrier, you think rowboat — the smallest possible thing I can deliver to my actual customer as early as possible, so they can actually start getting their engagement. The third principle is rapid iteration — iterate that product at high speeds with versions released every few days or every few weeks, instead of every few months or years, so you maximize the learning. So from the ground up, you eventually get to a real understanding of what the customer wanted and how to create something that delivers that. So that’s the model that we’ve been adopting.

There are about 15 or so that I personally oversee. But this is actually a model that’s been cloned across the government. The key is that we have an idea, we find the three or five people initially that had the idea a long time ago or had a similar idea across the government, put them together in this lean start-up team, liberate them to actually operate, give them the air coverage to do so, and they rock ’n’ roll from there.