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Homeland Security Wants Its Own Contract Vehicle for Agile Services

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The Homeland Security Department wants to jump on the agile bandwagon for its mobile and Web applications.

DHS eventually wants to award one agencywide contract to a business that can provide digital design and development, according to the department. For now, it’s gathering information on the best way to award contracts for “agile services,” which use a project management process that breaks large technology projects into smaller sprints.

The request for information about agile services comes a few months after the General Services Administration awarded 17 vendors a spot on its own agile blanket purchase agreement -- a pre-approved list of businesses qualified to provide digital development services to other agencies.

Other agencies and departments are not required to use GSA’s agile BPA, which has been halted at least twice by protests from vendors not chosen to be on it.

Specifically, DHS wants one contractor to provide DHS with several development teams, including product managers, designers, engineers and developers, who use techniques such as DevOps, according to a posting on FedBizOpps.

The posting asks for input on a potential selection process for that contractor -- teams would be asked to complete a challenge exercise within one day, demonstrate their minimum viable product, and then do a 60-minute presentation on the product and the development process.

Contractor candidates would also post an under 5-minute video response on YouTube to the prompt: “Describe an agile project that your company has led and is proud of.”

DHS is planning an industry day in June to discuss the project. It is also still collecting comment on proposed pricing models, including one that would pay teams for increments of development time. The agile contract would be overseen by DHS’ Procurement Innovation Lab, a team that experiments with new ways to buy products and services.

The department is collecting public comment on these topics until June 7. DHS declined to provide comment beyond what was in the solicitation and online.

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