Sarah Fahden, the chief of the Verification Program Portfolio at USCIS, said the journey to being a dev/ops or agile shop started quickly after DHS made the project a high priority modernization program almost six years ago.
In a July 26 letter to DHS Chief Procurement Officer Soraya Correa, several vendors who had been awarded spots to participate in FLASH offered encouragement and appreciation to the agency despite the disappointing outcome of the attempted contract.
The Homeland Security Department is looking beyond the "DevOps" trend -- blending development teams with operations teams to encourage closer collaboration and quick deployments -- with the intention of adding security teams into the mix.
Using agile methods to update multiple pieces of its verification system while still maintaining the legacy system for customer use, the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) is 'changing the tire while driving," according to Federal News Radio.
While FLASH was flawed, it showed the tremendous potential of running a contracting process that rewards excellence at designing and building working software, rather than competence in writing proposals and navigating bureaucracy.
FLASH’s cancellation is likely a reflection of the challenges agencies have setting up new initiatives, and observers should not take it as a sign agencies don’t have an appetite for agile software development services.
Mark Schwartz, the groundbreaking chief information officer at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service in the Homeland Security Department, is leaving government.
The report DHS filed with the Government Accountability Office said pulling the contract "is the only viable option to address the many issues that DHS has identified as problems with the requirement and the record."
FLASH was created with the intention of giving department components access to industry best practices for acquiring agile services, but struggled when multiple award attempts were met with protests from unsuccessful bidders.
IT leaders at the Department of Homeland Security don't expect a shake-up to the procurement innovation within the agency, even with the upcoming change in administration.