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Digital Modernization

OIG Highlights Points of Improvement in SSA Agile Practices

Audit report

OIG Highlights Points of Improvement in SSA Agile Practices

The Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General made several recommendations in a report published in late August to improve the agency’s agile software development approach. Gail Ennis, the SSA inspector general, said 12 initiatives were suggested in the audit, aimed at improving decision-making, boosting efficiency and fostering workforce effectiveness, FedScoop reported.

According to Ennis, the steps SSA can take include policy and protocol revisions, strategic portfolio planning, standardized report formats and an executive-level agile training program.

The agency disagreed with a recommendation that called for better agile guidance implementation. SSA said its quality assurance process incorporates key best practices and collaboration between QA reviewers and project managers.

In 2020, the Government Accountability Office published a report calling on SSA to delineate roles for contract personnel in charge of procuring agile software development efforts. The watchdog said such actions would drive progress toward the agency’s information technology modernization goals and introduce proper oversight. GAO has been providing guidance materials on proper agile assessment methodology since September 2020.

Other agencies are in the process of implementing agile software development methods. In 2021, the General Services Administration’s Technology Transformation Services awarded a blanket purchase agreement to four companies to provide agile development support.

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