UX Advantage 2015: Inventing the Yes Lawyer

Traci Walker, Contracting Officer, US Digital Service and Jeff Gladchun, Director of Product Development, Fidelity Investments

– Jeff started at Fidelity reviewing for compliance; exposed to product and enjoyed working with designers and developers; now in product management
– Traci in government procurement; involved in transition to agile, the cloud, and other digital services
– software never ends, so a contract with a piece of software delivered at the end; ongoing changes and operations won’t be detailed with; no longer include requirements in the contract, that work is part of the contract; contract for delivering working software but not the detailed requirements; risk is minimized in an agile process, pay by iteration, including services outside development; no over the wall, cross-functionally engaged from the beginning
– policy vs policy interpretation: product folks need to understand the policy norms in their industry and company; fight for better interpretations when the current interpretation doesn’t meet the actual need
– “brightline rules”: no wiggle room, not open to interpretation
– procurement myth of defined deliverables: redefined the deliverable definition; being innovative but there is some fear in the change of risks; “if doesn’t say you can’t, then you can”
– digital service playbook: https://playbook.cio.gov; being augmented with ways to do the things in the playbook; https://playbook.cio.gov/techfar/; agile in place now; not rules, but a toolbox
– contracts need a good exit strategy: timebox the risk to 6 months, not many years; walk away if it’s not working
– pockets of innovation in government: NASA, NIA; very culturally challenging, fear of risk, lack of ability and knowledge of how to do it
– “You’re making procurement sexy again.”
– in financials, all the disclaimers and such that are supposedly regulated to be on the screen, how do you deal with it: still play “telephone” in the chain of interpreting regulation; need to ask what the original regulation was and thing about many interpretations; get back to the intent and the problem, explore alternate solutions
– government needs to be responsive to the needs of people, and not strand them in limbo during services and transactions; that intent needs to be built into the way we follow the playbook and providing methods in the TechFAR
– cynical view: legal = PPG = “Product Prevention Group”
– get lawyers involved early: organizational habits need to be updated to engage from the beginning; habit = cue, routine, reward; get reviewers familiar with agile and other aspects of how and why projects are managed
– finding an encryption tool where the agency held the “keys to the kingdom” allowed moving data into the cloud for projects
– Jared’s father’s lawyer joke: “99.9% of lawyers ruin it for the rest of them.”

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