The White House doesn't want to see a fiasco like last year's Healthcare.gov launch happen again, and it's establishing a crew of tech experts today to, theoretically, make sure it doesn't. Called the US Digital Service (USDS), the new group will be led by Mikey Dickerson, a former Google engineer who is said to have played a key role in repairing Healthcare.gov. USDS' goal is make sure that government agencies have good practices for IT, particularly when it comes to public-facing systems so that they can hopefully avoid major issues in the future.
"Make it simple and intuitive."
In general, the USDS is tasked with seeing that the government's tech services are as good as what citizens will find from private companies. It's supposed to keep government organizations accountable, establish ways that common services can be scaled across the government, and work on specific cases to make sure that everything goes smoothly.
The administration has already set out a series of guidelines for agencies to follow to make sure all of that happens. They're pretty standard fare, bite-size phrases that you might hear right out of Silicon Valley — "make it simple and intuitive," for instance — but that's perhaps no surprise. The government says that it'll be hiring some of the "best digital experts" around, and Dickerson appears to be a prime example of that. With some experienced Silicon Valley talent in its ranks, the White House should have a better chance of avoiding digital catastrophes in the future. You can see the basics from its digital services "playbook" below.