FCW: Non-traditional contractors grow up

“Non-traditional IT contractors, whom I have blogged about a number of times over the years, appeared in significant numbers in the federal space in the wake of the debacle over the launch of the Healthcare.gov website in 2013. With offbeat names such as Ad Hoc, Fearless and Oddball, they represent a youthful challenge to the more staid and middle-aged world (and I speak as someone well past middle age) of government IT contracting.

In 2019 [non-traditional IT contractors] entered the Washington mainstream by establishing their very own trade association called the Digital Services Coalition (DSC), concentrating on promoting practices especially common among commercial IT firms, such as user-centered design and agile, rather than taking on govtech in general.(They grew out of an earlier Agile Contracting Community of Practice.) Their original 16 member firms have now grown to 28, including two or three that have gotten big enough to be classified as large businesses in the contracting system…”

“The main thing I want to emphasize about their strategic plan is that it is indeed somewhat unconventional. In the plan, they discuss three ‘core values.’ The first is what they call ‘people over profits.’ This communicates a bit of an anti-business feel perhaps unexpected for an organization of businesses—more like Bernie Sanders than like the Leidos CEO Roger Krone. This is not a core value one would see in the traditional govcon world…”

“The strategic plan is also interesting because it states a number of demands they plan to place on members, itself unusual for an association (which would normally be more concerned with attracting new members than excluding some who wanted to join).

‘We plan to establish and enforce community standards which will hold members to consistently practicing and exemplifying the values of the DSC. This will ensure the community and culture of the DSC remains true to the mission and vision,’ the plan states. Similarly, they pledge to ‘establish, incentivize, and enforce member time/volunteer requirements for active engagement in initiatives.’…” Read the full article here.

Source: Non-traditional contractors grow up – By Steve Kelman, April 18, 2022. FCW.



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