Ideas articles

Applying native mobile capabilities to government service delivery

June 06, 2024

Native mobile apps can and should be be a valuable part of a larger customer experience strategy, and federal agencies should examine how to best apply the benefits of mobile to the needs of their customers.

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Plain language for the win: Improving customer experiences with clearer communication

November 08, 2023

Plain language may be just one facet to improving customer experience across the federal government, but it’s a powerful way agencies can make their services more accessible to everyone. Learn how the Department of Labor created plain language resources that empowered state unemployment offices to create equitable content for millions of people across the country.

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Funding: The essential ingredient to successful digital modernization

October 30, 2023

Adequate funding is key to helping teams redesign government services to be more efficient and user-friendly. Read this blog post to learn why funding is so important and how agencies like the Department of Labor are using it in their digital modernization efforts to upgrade critical public benefits.

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Announcing the Platform Smells Playbook: Diagnose and fix common problems with your technology platform

June 13, 2023

At Ad Hoc, we believe that shared technology platforms are often a critical part of government digital modernization efforts.

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Introducing the Research Thinking Field Guide

May 08, 2023

Fundamentally, research is about helping people make better decisions, and it should be an integral part of how any team develops products and services.

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Why new software and new people aren’t enough to transform your customer experience

May 03, 2023

This shift, from prioritizing an organization’s needs to making the customer’s overall experience the driving force, is an incredible opportunity to positively transform people’s trust in the government.

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Very long lines: The true cost of technical debt

March 08, 2023

Technical debt is real debt. It will eventually be paid by someone.

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Using human-centered design to improve customer experience: an AFCEA discussion

March 01, 2023

On January 18, 2023, leaders and executives within the public healthcare ecosystem convened at the annual AFCEA Bethesda Health IT Summit.

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Build an innovation culture by using data to learn, not to evaluate performance

February 08, 2023

At its best, data is a tool for learning and innovation. It can help agencies understand markets better, increase efficiency, and improve decision-making.

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Connect the dots across your agency with product portfolio management

August 30, 2022

Product portfolio management is an essential strategy for tracking initiatives across a large organization. Here are our recommendations that will help set your teams up for success and deliver better outcomes for your customers.

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Using a continuous ATO for better compliance and real-time data

August 16, 2022

The ATO process can be a taxing, frustrating process that may slow down innovation on federal web applications. But enabling a continuous ATO can bring about a number of key benefits to both the program teams and those who review the ATO application.

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Introducing the Ad Hoc Product Field Guide

April 25, 2022

With this guide, agencies can start moving from a project management mindset to a product-based approach to delivering services that enable them to better serve the public.

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The new Ad Hoc Accessibility Beyond Compliance Playbook

January 19, 2022

Follow our plays to better equip your organization and teams with practices that lead to more equitable digital services for all.

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Meeting security needs through an inclusive approach

December 15, 2021

In keeping with this year’s theme of “Embracing Change: Adapting for the Future,” our panel explored the question of what happens when accessibility isn’t integrated into security practices.

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Embarrassingly automatable as the first step of legacy modernization

July 20, 2021

Perhaps it’s time for an equivalent of Maslow’s classic hierarchy of needs, but for legacy modernization projects.

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A path to transforming the nation’s unemployment insurance systems

June 11, 2021

The time is ripe to rethink how the nation’s unemployment systems, many of which still rely on manual and paper-based processes, can be improved through new technology and approaches.

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With existing tools, the IRS could connect people with healthcare

May 19, 2021

CMS and IRS could use the digital infrastructure and information they have today to help millions of tax filers find affordable or free healthcare, thereby reducing the number of uninsured people in America.

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Building stakeholder relationships remotely

May 04, 2021

Building a trusting and engaging partnership with stakeholders can be like building any relationship. What you put into it is what you get out of it.

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Introducing the ATO Field Guide

April 28, 2021

Ad Hoc is releasing an ATO Field Guide to inform the public, our customers, and our partners about how federal web applications are authorized to operate on behalf of the American people.

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How to make vaccination an efficient and equitable process

March 02, 2021

Let’s talk about how governments can change course to create a vaccination process that improves equity and takes the burden of finding appointments off of individuals.

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Building a federal front door for vaccinations

February 19, 2021

Through research, we’ve landed on a handful of principles that could shape a federal vaccination website and core features the website should provide on launch.

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How to start improving your COVID-19 vaccination digital service

February 12, 2021

We’ve gathered a short list of ways state and local governments can improve their services now and prepare for the upcoming phases of the vaccination rollout.

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Prototyping a COVID-19 vaccination verification app

January 28, 2021

Ad Hoc has created a prototype that would allow Medicare beneficiaries to check their vaccination status in an easy-to-use web app.

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Getting ready for launch

January 08, 2021

Launches can be unpredictable. Having a plan for launch can help you focus on that which you can control and set you up to recover more quickly should things go wrong.

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Imagining an app to simplify student loan forgiveness

December 18, 2020

What’s needed is a simple, purpose-built website to help borrowers apply for loan forgiveness, and help them stay enrolled in payment programs.

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The new Ad Hoc Government Digital Services Playbook

August 18, 2020

The 2020 version is now a standalone playbook that any federal agency can use to replace enterprise software with proven techniques from the world of commercial software.

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How agencies can scale up digital services in the wake of COVID-19

July 21, 2020

Every agency, from federal to local, needs to envision a way they can serve their constituents with as little in-person contact as possible.

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The problem might not be COBOL

July 10, 2020

The government’s problem isn’t using old code or older programming languages. The problem is often that they’re using code that wasn’t designed to meet the needs of people who use it.

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The 21st Century IDEA Act Playbook Part 5: Scaling design systems

September 10, 2019

The details of how the Office of Management and Budget will interpret this mandate into regulation are still to be determined, and it’s important that those regulations provide a smart, flexible way for agencies to adopt the USWDS.

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The 21st Century IDEA Act Playbook Part 4: Prioritize modernization with user research

September 04, 2019

The 21st Century IDEA Act mandates that every agency prioritize public services that need modernization. The best way for agencies to prioritize their services is to thoroughly research how users interact with those services.

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The 21st Century IDEA Act Playbook Part 3: Customized, mobile-friendly experiences

August 26, 2019

Today, we’ll finish up the first section of the IDEA Act with the final two requirements for public websites and digital services.

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The 21st Century IDEA Act Playbook Part 2: Search, security, and serving users

August 21, 2019

In this section, I’ll continue looking at the IDEA Act’s new requirements for public websites and digital services, including a deep dive into what it means to design services around the needs of your users.

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The 21st Century IDEA Act Playbook Part 1: Accessibility, appearance, and overlap

August 15, 2019

Reading the IDEA Act, I saw much of how Ad Hoc works with our customers on government digital services. I thought it would be helpful to share our experience in implementing these kinds of digital services.

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Defining digital services and what they mean for product teams

August 14, 2019

We don’t have a shared definition for what government digital service means. This post offers one perspective by outlining how we think about digital services and how these ideas relate to our product practice.

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Successful procurements are built on strong relationships

May 30, 2019

My theory is that a more relationship-based approach would better enable the government to have success on technology procurements than the seemingly distant and transactional relationship that appears to often exist in traditional procurement.

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Becoming stewards of the social infrastructure

May 03, 2019

As an organization committed to improving social infrastructure, we must also put our research, design, product, and engineering skills to work on all aspects of public service delivery.

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Greg Gershman at Code for America Summit on reshaping the government technology ecosystem

June 01, 2018

Yesterday, co-founder and CEO Greg Gershman spoke at the Code for America Summit for a session on Reshaping the Government Technology Ecosystem and what was needed to effect real, sustained change at scale.

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A phased approach to modular contracting

May 30, 2018

Using multiple, small contracts does not necessarily guarantee this result, but you can build better products and get better at incorporating new information as you go.

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Getting great people on government contracts

March 20, 2018

Most contracts I’ve seen have a period of performance that starts the day after the award. That doesn’t give the winning vendor much time to assemble an excellent team.

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Staying agile in a shutdown

January 22, 2018

Today marks the first workday since the federal government shutdown. As a federal contractor helping run several large systems, we seek to be of greatest use to our customers and for the people we all seek to serve.

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This is a test

January 18, 2018

Details have emerged as to just how bad the bad design was that led to the false ballistic missile alert in Hawaii last weekend.

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Ideas for creating mobile applications for Veterans

October 25, 2017

Recently, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs released a Request for Information looking for ideas in how to create mobile applications for Veterans. Here’s a summary of our response.

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Stop your (business rules) engines!

October 10, 2017

One of the many surprising artifacts of the initial failed launch was a “business rules engine.” This was a new concept for most of the team that helped rescue the site.

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