Neil Armstrong's Lessons for Building Government Websites



When a government project is not going well and you're caught up in compliance, reporting, and procedure the work can feel like a grind. What is often forgotten is that one of the greatest accomplishments in human history - landing a person on the Moon - was a U.S. Federal government project. How was that accomplished? Today agile and Scrum are all the rage. NASA pulled off that mission long before iterative design, user testing, and demos were key components of modern technology development. Landing on the Moon was achieved without agile! ...Or was it?

When humanity was figuring out the very dangerous work of launching ourselves into space the U.S. space program used basic agile principles to develop the most cutting edge, unprecedented technology in human history. NASA's space programs from Mercury to Gemini to Apollo are textbook examples of the principals that should guide any modern technology development... including government websites.


After this talk PMs and govies should be inspired to do greater work after seeing how their projects have parallels to NASA's Moon landing. They should feel that the same agile methods used to develop life saving tech for astronauts should work just as well for their Drupal sites where lives may not be exposed to the same level of risk. They will also see how today NASA has evolved their agile approach. We'll look at the user story based contracts that are currently fueling the inspiring work at SpaceX and Boeing. We will see some of the incredible results like the SpaceX Crew Dragon Capsule and Spacesuit. Walking out of the session attendees will have a better understanding of how agile methods like iterative design, user testing, demos, and user stories have been effectively employed in Federal work and the incredible results that those methods can produce.

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