18F: Making Government Software Agile—Joe Polastre, Medium

Tuesday, April 19, 2016  •  3:30pm   •  306 Soda Hall


Whether it's your first thousand users or a government service for 320 million people, shipping products that meet user needs is an art. At first glance, it may seem the goal is to address a user need. In reality, the hardest part is often changing the organization. "User needs, not government needs" was my mantra as a Presidential Innovation Fellow. It culminated in October 2013, in the middle of the government shutdown and Healthcare.gov failed launch, when we founded 18F to bring agile practices to both government services and procurement. It's not just government that needs to holistically address how the organization serves its users. I'll talk about how we delivered product across three widely varying organizations -- a 3 person hardware/software startup, government agencies delivering services for millions, and a vibrant network of thinkers and readers that have spent 3.5 millennia reading together on Medium. Bring your questions and ideas, let's make this interactive!

Speaker Bio: Joe Polastre is a product manager at Medium, delivering new products for personalization, content creation and distribution, and data analytics. He's a former Presidential Innovation Fellow at The White House, where he then co-founded 18F, the digital delivery team of the United States government. He previously founded Sentilla (acquired by Ericsson) based on his research at Berkeley. In 2005, he received his PhD from Berkeley under the guidance of Professor David Culler. Fun fact: his first task as a Berkeley grad student was to package and ship the TinyOS 0.5.1 release while at Berkeley.