Digital Playbook

The White House announced on Monday, August 11th 2014, that it is formally launching a new U.S. Digital Service and that it has hired Mikey Dickerson to lead it. Mickey Dickerson is an engineer widely credited with playing a central role in salvaging HealthCare.gov. The idea behind the USDS is institutionalizing the approach that saved the US health care website.

USDS is launching with a pair of foundational texts: A Digital Services Playbook with 13 key ‘plays’” for implementing digital government and a TechFAR Handbook to advise agencies on how to take a more agile approach to federal contracting and procurement.

As I read through the digital playbook I was struck by the fact that it’s full of common sense, elegantly designed, has clear navigation, and is responsive to any device you choose to view it upon. In other words it is nothing like any official government documentation I have ever seen before. Oh, and it’s hosted on GitHub.

The playbook is basically applied common sense and smart best practices from silicon valley. In other words “it works” because it’s the same playbook employed by web giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter and nearly all web startups.

As a CIO I think the playbook should really be everyone’s playbook - it’s very good and worth a read.

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