Project RFP-EZ Weekly Update #1

Hey folks,

As our fellowship starts rolling along, we’re eager to keep you updated about the progress we’ve been making. Our idea is to split RFP-EZ into several different components, so that we can launch them incrementally and start to get some base hits, instead of waiting to hit the home-run that is RFP-EZ.

As you might have already seen, last week we open-sourced our first project, SOW Composer, which templatizes the process of writing statements of work for government contracts.

Today we’re launching another piece of the puzzle, which we’re calling RFPEZ-APIs. Because many of the government datasets that we need to interface with don’t have public-facing APIs, we’ve decided to start making them available for ourselves, and as a bonus, to you, too. RFPEZ-APIs grabs the .csv and tab-delimited data dumps from the DSBS and EPLS, and exposes them to the web in a simple RESTful API format. The best part about this project, however, is that it’s built in a modular manner, and that adding a new collection from a .csv file is extremely simple. So mark us down for two projects and two datasets released, here in our second week of the fellowship.(Be on the lookout for our 3rd dataset, coming soon…)

Looking forward, our next step is to start building a database of innovative web development firms who are interested in contracting with the federal government, yet have been dissuaded from it in the past because the barrier to entry was too high. If you’re one of these firms, keep an eye out in the next couple weeks for a quick signup form from us. We want to get as many of you as possible into our system, so that we can go to government and say, “all of these companies do amazing work, and they do it at a fraction of the price you’ve paid in the past.” We’ll also be showcasing RFP-EZ at various events, starting with the DC Tech Meetup on September 10th, so if you’re in town, come find us there!

Until next week,
Adam, Jed, Clay and the rest of the RFP-EZ team

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Adam Becker

Thanks Chris! Our official stance on the demo is that we’re a bit wary of putting it online publicly, since it send an official-looking email from an official-looking email address. I’ll PM you a link though 🙂

Peter G. Tuttle

Hi Adam. As part of your process, did you guys ever have a chance to look at the PWS tool that Defense Acquisition University (DAU) has created? It is pretty slick (pardon the slang). If you are interested, I can try and facilitate some collaboration with them. It may be beneficial and will certainly serve to continue the conversation about tools to simplify the creation of requirements documents such as SOW’s and PWS’. Regards, Pete

Adam Becker

Hey Peter,

No, we haven’t come across that tool yet. It would be great if you wanted to make an intro for us — we’re definitely thinking about ways to let the contractor to determine what the government agency needs, rather than having it prescribed for them. I wouldn’t go and tell a contractor how to build me a house, rather, I would give a rough description of what I want and let them tell me how they would built it.

Anyway, shoot me an email: [email protected]. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Chris Cairns

Checked out the demo app. It’s pretty cool. Very basic but it’s enough to open up your imagination spigot. How are you guys interacting with the user community to come up with the list of user stories?

Adam Becker

We did a few dozen user interviews in August, and got some really great feedback from those. At this point, Clay is still out talking with stakeholders, while Jed and I are focusing on the technical work.

Jaime Gracia

Adam – Pete beat me to the punch, as DAU’s tool is pretty good as a model for automation for these artifacts. Here is some more information on the Automated Requirements Roadmap Tool (ARRT) from DAU.

What communications strategies are being created and implemented to help educate personnel about these new tools, and of course ensure they are implemented and get used?

Peter G. Tuttle

It’s not often that I beat Jaime to the punch!!!

Adam – I’d be interested in your observations on the DAU tool once you and Lyle get to meet, etc.