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calling all engineers: uncle sam needs you

Stashed in: Software!, Awesome, @mabb0tt, politics, Healthcare, Politics, Tech

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Engineer and VC Michael Abbott discusses his stint with and the opportunity of becoming a member of the government's elite tech pit-crew! Stop giving government contracts to giant consultancies led by non-techies like Mitt Romney that do nothing but burn money!

Mitt Romney's lack of technology expertise directly hurt his 2012 campaign, interestingly enough.

Not sure what Romney has to do with the healthcare site.  The whole scandal was that through a crony, no-bid contract, the whitehouse gave it to a big campaign donor's company that didn't have a clue what they were doing and wasted hundreds of millions of dollars screwing it up and then paid them again to fix what they did wrong in the first place. The bottom line is, a big contractors who does this stuff for a living would have provided a higher quality product at a lower cost.

Romney is just a symbol of spending a lot of money on technology but getting poor results:

However much money the whitehouse spent, at least they were results-driven.

Mike Abbott calls this our industry’s chance to help federal IT become easier for people to use:

time magazine did a great job describing the problems and how we tried to solve them in an article called “Obama’s Trauma Team.” one big mistake the government made was a mistake the private sector never makes: the government opened the website to everyone at once. people in the tech industry know to launch to an expanding population of users over time. when you start small with your launch, you can see the system under strain, fix it, and then scale it.

led in significant part by Mikey Dickerson, then a google site-reliability engineer, the team applied standard silicon valley rigor, behavior, and approaches to the salvaging effort. together with engineers from the contractors hired to build the site, we fixed by the administration’s deadline.

the Obama administration is now applying what it learned from all of us to its other challenges. in august it announced the U.S. Digital Services Playbook. consisting of 13 “plays” — each with a series of checklists and key questions — the playbook helps government agencies apply the tech industry’s best practices for product development.

the administration also launched the U.S. digital service, a small team of industry experts who will work with the agencies to improve how the government does IT. (the idea is similar to the UK’s Government Digital Service, which has transformed that country’s IT efforts.)  Mikey Dickerson is now both administrator of the digital service team and deputy federal cio. 

In addition, the administration has launched 18F, an internal consultancy that Federal agencies can hire to develop and deliver state-of-the-art digital services, and a new Veterans Affairs Digital Service team to help improve services for our nation’s heroes.

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