The new Ad Hoc Government Digital Services Playbook

In 2018, we launched the first version of the Ad Hoc Government Digital Services Playbook, a collection of best practices from our experience supporting federal agencies. Today, we’re releasing an updated version of the Playbook that compiles six years of lessons from supporting high-traffic, complex user experiences like, transformative projects like, and major data initiatives such as the Beneficiary Claims Data API and Blue Button.

While the original Playbook offered additional commentary on the U.S. Digital Services Playbook, the 2020 version is now a standalone playbook that any federal agency can use to replace enterprise software patterns with proven techniques from the world of commercial software.

The 12 plays are designed for agencies that are ready to make a change. They cover topics from contracting strategy to launch procedures to who you should invite to meetings about your product.

From Play 3 — Invite technologists to meetings:

Software engineering is the encoding of business requirements and rules into software. Policy and subject matter experts should sit down and collaborate with technologists, not just in the initial conception and ideation phase, but in all phases of the process.

Each play includes a checklist teams can use to conduct a self-assessment to see if they’re meeting the guidelines of each section. As teams adopt more of these methods, they can use the key questions in each play to examine their processes and start the difficult conversations that can lead to better-functioning digital services. The Playbook covers a lot of ground, and these questions and checklists are designed to help guide teams toward the path to create resilient, flexible, and customer-friendly digital services.

As agencies continue to transition from in-person interactions to digital services, we hope the Ad Hoc Government Digital Services Playbook will serve as a valuable resource for vendor and government teams. We’ll continue to update the Playbook as the landscape changes and we learn more about the best way to create a digital-first government.