California Child Welfare Digital Services (a division of California Health and Human Services) recenetly conducted an innovative selection process to establish a pool of pre-qualified vendors who provide user-centered design and agile software development services, and Portland Webworks was among a select group of firms to make the cut. 

In a departure from the traditional (and often labor intensive) RFP and written proposal process, companies interested in joining the Agile Development Pre-Qualified (ADPQ) vendor pool were asked to develop a functioning prototype and share working source code along with a narrative of the process used to develop the prototype. Firms were encouraged to leverage the U.S. Digital Services Playbook as a framework for design and development of the prototype, and to use open source technologies in its construction.

Firms were given just over a month to respond, and all prototypes were to be made accessible at a publicly available URL along with all code, assets and documentation via a public GitHub repository (and in the spirit of transparency we're happy to share links to our own prototype and our repo).

The process used by CHHS was modeled after the General Service Administration’s Agile Blanket Purchase Agreement process, with a view to both cutting down the time and cost associated with the conventional solicitation process as well as providing direct insight in to potential vendor’s process and work product. 

Although CHHS allowed for up to 15 vendors to enter the ADPQ pool, ultimately only 11 of the 24 applicants were selected, with several notable industry names failing to make the cut. Portland Webworks now finds itself in select company, alongside some major IT consulting firms, such as Deloitte and Accenture, as well as several other established firms focussed on serving the public sector. CHHS will now solicit work from pool vendors through a Request For Offer process as individual projects and requirements are identified.

The ADPQ award reflects an increasing effort by our company to focus on serving the public sector as well as our ongoing commitment to agile development using open source technologies. “It’s exciting to see governments at all levels beginning to value the advantages of this approach.”, said company President, Justin Davis. “It really begins to level the playing field for nimble, focussed firms like ours, allowing us to compete alongside some of the IT consulting titans. We hope that the ADPQ award will continue to spur our company’s growth in the social services sector, backing up our existing successes in Maine, Idaho and Washington”.