A couple weeks ago, 18F released a request for quote (RFQ) for Agile Delivery Services. This represented a new approach to federal IT contracting.
For typical federal proposals, you spend weeks or months writing dozens (or hundreds) of pages describing how you’ll deliver. (But maybe you are better at writing than delivering.) For this proposal, we didn’t submit paper. We submitted code. Specifically, we developed an application that leveraged the APIs at open.fda.gov. We had to do so in one week, which was later extended to about 2 weeks total.
Creating an app from scratch in 1-2 weeks is tough, but we did it! We’re proud of the app we created, and the quality of the code. Our top 5 lessons from our team retrospective were…
It is interested to reflect that many of these lessons are about slowing down to speed up. You can go faster by leaving some slack, spending the time to write tests, pausing frequently, and switching contexts.