What is the Digital Services Playbook?

Earlier this year, the U.S. Digital Services created the Digital Services Playbook – the “what” of best practices for delivering digital solutions in the Federal government. The U.S. Digital Services is part of the Executive Branch and was created to help improve technology initiatives within the Federal Government. Why was it needed? Well, for starters a 2012 McKinsey study found for IT projects with a budget of $15 million or more: 45% ran over budget, 7% ran over time, 56% delivered less value than predicted.

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AgileDC 2014: That’s a Wrap!

On October 21, we joined more than 500 attendees, volunteers and speakers at the 5th annual AgileDC conference. Taking place at the Kellogg Conference Center at Gallaudet University, the conference was an opportunity for Agile experts to share ways to improve delivery and quality of IT products by taking an iterative, incremental approach.


Read on to find out what we learned and shared with the Agile community!

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Wondering What You Missed at User Focus 2014?

uXpaDC_web_165x93pxUser experience is more than just a buzzword. Planning for it takes commitment and a whole lot of empathy. It means taking into account sociocultural factors and thinking beyond the website to the whole experience, in-store, on-line and in between. These are some of the messages that speakers at User Focus 2014 hit home.


For a more in depth recap and photos from the event, check out my blog post on the UXPA DC Blog.


And, as a bonus, Excella Co-Founder and Partner, Jeff Gallimore shared his thoughts in User Focus 2014: Debrief.

Best IT Events For November

We are a little late getting this list out this month…but here is a round up of IT events taking place throughout the rest of November around Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia. Hope to see you there!



Double Feature: Design Sprints, and Patents

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

7 PM

Vienna, VA


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Four Reasons DC Is A Great Place to Work in Tech

Tech Jobs DCWashington, D.C. has been ranked as one of the best places for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) professionals in the United States—right behind cities in California and Washington State. This article on Nerdwallet.com (great name!) cites events like the USA Science and Engineering Festival and groups like the DC STEM Alliance (which provides support to STEM education in local schools) as instrumental in drumming up interest in STEM education on the East Coast. Another study by stemconnector.org found that female students in Washington, D.C. are almost twice as likely as their nationwide counterparts to show interest in the field.


But what else makes D.C. such a great place to work in tech? We asked around the office and interview our up-and-coming students in the Extension Center (XC) Program to find out. Here’s what they had to say:


#1 Variety of Work


Washington, D.C. is home to a variety work that you simply can’t find elsewhere. Because the technology sector in D.C. was initially spurred heavily by government support, the large market of knowledgeable talent has made the area a focal point for private firms looking for experienced techies. From big name government contractors, to start-ups, to Fortune 500’s in fields including biotechnology, healthcare, computer systems design, hospitality, software publishing, and science, there is an enormous range of job opportunities available to STEM graduates, giving them options, opportunities, and flexibility.


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Sneak Preview: Coming Up at AgileDC

Excella at Agile DC

Organiza­tions facing complex IT problems often turn to Agile to ensure that they can deliver solutions on time and on budget. Taking an Agile approach to IT solutions enables product owners to quickly deliver value and easily adapt to changes by aligning software development with specific customer needs and organizational goals.



On Tuesday, October 21, five Excella Consultants will share their Agile knowledge and experience with attendees of AgileDC, the premier Agile event in the Washington, D.C. area. Curious what lessons we’ll be sharing with the Agile community?



Read on to learn more about what our team has to share at AgileDC! Let us know if any of these topic resonate with you:



Topic 1: Agile in the Federal Government 

Interested in learning how Agile can find success in high-visibility federal government projects? Check out Training Lead and CST Richard Cheng’s presentation on Agile in the Federal Government. Rich will explore why programs decided to take an Agile approach, major hurdles and obstacles, patterns of success and end results.

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Best IT Events for October

October is shaping up to be an exciting month of conferences, Meetups, and user group meetings! Here are the IT events we are looking forward to attending this month around Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia. Hope to see you there!


Agile Leadership Network DC Chapter (ALN DC)

The Villains of Decision Making (Presented by Quentin Gilbert)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Vienna, VA



10 Things Statistics Taught Us About Big Data Analytics

DC Business Intelligentsia

Monday, October 6, 2014

6 PM – 8 PM

Arlington, VA


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What Do Good Agile Coaches Do?

A good Agile Coach can help new and existing teams successfully adopt Agile and strengthen their established Agile practices. A bad Agile Coach can leave a team stymied, frustrated, and wondering where to go next.


Once a team has decided that they need an Agile Coach, they must find a Coach who is right for them. But what distinguishes a good coach from a bad coach?


In this post, published on his blog “IT’s A Nice Life,” Co-Founder and Partner Jeff Gallimore discusses four things that good Agile coaches do.


Check it out and tell us what you think. How have Agile Coaches helped your team?

Node.js Challenges: Why MEAN Doesn’t Work, But a Hapi “LEBRON” Does

When I first started working with Node.js, the MEAN stack seemed to be the most popular and sensible stack to roll with. The MEAN Stack is MongoDB, ExpressJS, AngularJS and NodeJS. I’ve spent a lot of time looking for good seed projects and examples of these technologies working in harmony.


After my trip to NodeConf this past summer, I got a chance to see what the Node community is doing and I was introduced to some new and simpler packages that make working with Node a pure pleasure. Since NodeConf, I’ve been working on a stack that makes it much easier to use and teach Node. I call this stack Hapi LEBRON. LEBRON is a combination of LevelDB, Browserify and npm. Hapi is a rich applications and services framework built by Walmart Labs.


You might want to check this out if you are interested in rapid prototyping, doubled developer productivity by streamlining development technologies and real-time, highly concurrent or high I/O applications.

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