RFP-EZ Marketplace

Software platform to make buying web work better for everyone

Presidential Innovation Fellows

Weekly Update #4

Our motto is “RFP-EZ Ships.” We’ve shipped software for every week we’ve been in our fellowship program like SOWComposer (week 1), Our APIs (week 2 and 3), and our Parser for Contracting Opportunities (week 4). Here in week 5, we’re launching a different kind of project: FormTimer

This week’s been about three letters: P-R-A. PRA actually stands for a few things inside of the government, but the one we’re talking about today is the Paperwork Reduction Act – a law that governs how the government can collect information from the public. When the federal government collects information, a Paperwork Reduction Act process gets kicked off to ensure that government is keeping that information collection as burden-free and as easy (RFP-EZ, even!) as possible, and to make sure the public has a chance to comment on that form before it gets deployed.

We want that too. We want our forms to be as burden-free and as simple to use as possible. Obviously the more people we have participating with us, the better. So we’re not only going to comply with the legislation, we’re also going to build tools to make compliance easier and more within the spirit of the law.

FormTimer – what Jed’s been working on this week – is the start of that. This software is really simple – it lets government time and see in real time how long it takes for people to fill out forms. By embedding a bit of javascript on a page, the software will time citizen interactions with forms and report back how long, on average it takes for people to fill out our forms. Here’s a demo

Hopefully this kind of tool can be used and implemented by anybody who wants to drive down the amount of time it takes their users to fill out their forms using live, real user data to make sure the discussions being had are based on real, live data rather than estimates which may not be the actual tangible outcomes of decisions being made.

Speaking of greater public participation, the other thing we’ve done this week? Finalized our rough outline for what we’re on slate for building by the end of the project. You can see the whole spec here and we’d love your comments. But in summary we’re working on the following pieces of functionality:

SOWComposer

You’ve already seen this – it’s a way to quickly make great statements of work that Contracting Officers love.

BidMaker

This is the other side of SOWComposer – it’s a way for small businesses to create great, compelling bids that are easily reviewable by contracting officers and program offices.

BidMonitor

BidMonitor helps contracting officers go through and sort incoming bids with ease by automating some of the more monotonous tasks and making it lightning fast to sort and review applications.

Marketplace

The Marketplace is where SOWComposer and BidMaker meet – a way for small businesses to sort through opportunities and find ones they’d like to bid on.

Portfolio Browser

Portfolio browser is a place where contracting officers and program offices can see offerings from the firms that want to do business with the government, alongside their historical work profiles and ballpark prices.

For more specifics, check the documentation. We’d love your feedback.

Finally, Adam’s made it home this week on the Road Tour for the Presidential Innovation Fellows, spreading the word to the west coast that RFP-EZ is happening. Check out his profile in AOL Government’s People to Watch.

Next week, we’re going to talk some under-the-hood stuff about how and why we selected the platform we selected, and hopefully we’ll have some more software to show you.

Thanks for reading and hopefully we’ll hear from you soon. Don’t hesitate to drop us a line over twitter at @ProjectRFPEZ or by email at rfpez@sba.gov.

Until Next Week,

Clay, Jed, Adam, Ahson, Sean and the rest of the RFPEZ team.

Posted in weekly-update | Tagged weekly updates

Weekly Update #3

It’s been another fun-filled week at Project RFP-EZ. On Monday, I presented at the DC Tech Meetup, asking the audience to sign up to be part of our pilot program, and I can now say that we’ve got a ton of talented folks that are waiting for the chance to bid on government contracts. The really exciting part is that many of them are totally new to government contracting, which nicely fits with our goal of making these opportunities inclusive, instead of exclusive, by default.

We haven’t been slacking on the code front this week either. Adding to the 2 APIs that we’ve already published, we’re proud to announce that we’re pulling in all new contracting opportunities from FedBizOpps and exposing them in a RESTful JSON API.

As far as our progress on RFP-EZ goes, we’re currently working through a round of wireframes and getting ready to start coding the backend database structure. This will happen publicly on GitHub, so be sure to keep an eye out!

Here’s where we need your help:

Are you a government buyer?

Get in touch! Email us at rfpez@sba.gov if you’re interested in running a procurement through RFP-EZ.We promise it’ll be worth your while.

Are you a web business?

We’re super excited for you to take advantage of the opportunities we have for you. Sign up at sba.gov/rfpez and we’ll let you know when contracts are ready to be bid on.

Until next week,
Adam, Jed, Clay and the rest of the RFP-EZ team

Posted in weekly-update | Tagged weekly updates

Weekly Update #2

Happy Friday! It’s been a great week here at RFP-EZ, and despite not having another 3 open-source projects to show for it, I can assure you that we’re making steady progress towards our goal of making government contracting a realistic endeavor for any small web business.

The feedback on our first few projects has been overwhelmingly positive, and we’re thrilled that you think we’re moving in the right direction. Now that we’re warmed up, we’re focusing on getting the ball rolling with the main component of RFP-EZ: a platform that will connect government with the small businesses who can offer them great, innovative web solutions. We have a first draft of mockups in hand, an aggressive launch target for our pilot (November), and a ton of excitement to start telling these small businesses about the new opportunities that we can offer them. While Jed and I (Adam) have been hammering out the more technical details, Clay has been all over town, finding some great contracts that will be ready to bid on once we launch.

We have a lot of work to do by November, but part of what will make RFP-EZ a success is your involvement and feedback. Steve Ressler, of GovLoop fame, wrote a great blog post about his ideas for RFP-EZ, and we’d encourage anyone to do the same. You can also join the conversation on our Twitter, or if 140 characters isn’t your thing, just shoot us an email at rfpez@sba.gov. We’d love to hear your thoughts or questions about anything we’re doing.

Until next week,
Adam, Jed, Clay and the rest of the RFP-EZ team

Posted in weekly-update | Tagged weekly updates

Weekly Update #1

Hey folks,

As our fellowship starts rolling along, we’re eager to keep you updated about the progress we’ve been making. Our idea is to split RFP-EZ into several different components, so that we can launch them incrementally and start to get some base hits, instead of waiting to hit the home-run that is RFP-EZ.

As you might have already seen, last week we open-sourced our first project, SOW Composer, which templatizes the process of writing statements of work for government contracts.

Today we’re launching another piece of the puzzle, which we’re calling RFPEZ-APIs. Because many of the government datasets that we need to interface with don’t have public-facing APIs, we’ve decided to start making them available for ourselves, and as a bonus, to you, too. RFPEZ-APIs grabs the .csv and tab-delimited data dumps from the DSBS and EPLS, and exposes them to the web in a simple RESTful API format. The best part about this project, however, is that it’s built in a modular manner, and that adding a new collection from a .csv file is extremely simple. So mark us down for two projects and two datasets released, here in our second week of the fellowship.(Be on the lookout for our 3rd dataset, coming soon…)

Looking forward, our next step is to start building a database of innovative web development firms who are interested in contracting with the federal government, yet have been dissuaded from it in the past because the barrier to entry was too high. If you’re one of these firms, keep an eye out in the next couple weeks for a quick signup form from us. We want to get as many of you as possible into our system, so that we can go to government and say, “all of these companies do amazing work, and they do it at a fraction of the price you’ve paid in the past.” We’ll also be showcasing RFP-EZ at various events, starting with the DC Tech Meetup on September 10th, so if you’re in town, come find us there!

Until next week,
Adam, Jed, Clay and the rest of the RFP-EZ team

Posted in weekly-update | Tagged weekly updates

Announcing Project RFP-EZ

We’re building a platform that makes it easier for small high-growth businesses to navigate the federal government, and enables agencies to quickly source low-cost, high-impact information technology solutions. Stay tuned for more updates coming soon.

Posted in announcements | Tagged launch

What we're saying

    What we're working on

      Fork me on GitHub