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We asked over 100 of our coworkers: What have you loved working on?

Two weeks ago, we asked everyone across 18F to answer a few simple questions:

Dozens of people from every team and time zone responded, and today we share their answers to the question: What have you loved working on?

Here’s the tl;dr: More than one person mentioned that they really enjoyed working on meaningful, mission-driven projects that impact millions of people. It’s true: we work on projects like College Scorecard, a clearinghouse to provide the clearest, most accessible, and reliable national data on college cost, graduation, debt, and post-college earnings, and an account system used by hundreds of thousands of immigrants to keep their information up to date.

When we work on big, meaningful projects, we do it in the open — all of our code is public and we publish how-tos, tutorials, and what we’ve learned on the 18F blog.

If this post and these projects appeal to you, you can see our open positions and apply to 18F on our join page.

What have you loved working on?

Contents

Strategy

Our strategists help agencies transform into modern, high-functioning organizations through new management models, culture change, modern practices, empowered talent, data access, and collaboration tools.

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18F team member Kane Baccigalupi
“I have been working at Census with government workers who are incredibly talented experts, in tech and statistics. Finding ways to support their good work, and move the bureau towards internet data collection for 2020 has been incredibly rewarding. I also work with an incredible group of 18F people in this endeavor, and it is an honor to be side-by-side with so many talented strategists.” -
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"Love bureaucracy hacking. Love being entrepreneurial in a large, complex environment that can seem impervious. (Oh yes! It's happening.) Loved when a senior Department of Defense official commended me for putting "Philip sized holes in the walls" across the Pentagon." (Ed. note: Not literally.) - Philip Harding
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"I continue to pinch myself about the type of work I get to do at 18F. Not only are the impact areas incredibly compelling (helping the Navy place the right officers in the right jobs at the right time; making it easier for EPA to monitor air emissions and pesticides ingredients to keep our environment safe), but the fact that I get to wear all three of my design research, UX design, and product strategy hats interchangeably is just crazy-awesome. I am totally in the zone when helping our agency partners move themselves out of "analysis paralysis" and into experimenting with small prototypes designed to meet the needs of real humans, and the fact that I get to do that every day at 18F makes me ridiculously, geekily happy." - Alex Pandel
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"So far I have helped plan and execute on projects as wide-ranging as helping our armed forces better coordinate their global talent pool; aiding the Department of the Treasury in bringing a new level of financial transparency to the public; and assisting the Environmental Protection Agency in thinking through ways to modernize their approach to labeling and inspecting pesticides. Each project has been different, but in every case I've been able to see how my efforts are going to positively impact the way our country functions, and I'm extremely grateful of the opportunity to get to do this work." - Lane Becker
18F team member Jessie Posilkin
“I love facilitating workshops and helping people articulate what it is their are trying to do. No matter the agency (or institution), people get stuck articulating the problem the want to solve — which makes it harder to find a solution. Whether drafting contracts, developing a prototype, or scoping the next phase of a project, people light up when they feel heard and see a path forward. It doesn't get old.” - Jessie Posilkin
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“I have loved working on Playbook in Action, a web application that hopes to make it easier for government to adopt the principles of the USDS Playbook in contracted digital services.” -
18F team member Romke De Haan
“Currently working on two agencies digital transformation projects. It's amazing to see how we have been able to help shape two very large agencies to focus on things like human-centered design and improved IT practices.” - Romke De Haan
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“The first two months have been incredible. Still very early on at my tenure at 18F; but our commitment to user centric design and open source...just. makes. so. much. sense.” -
18F team member Jay Huie
“I have loved working on teams with diverse people and experiences, where we can use a tangible technology goal to showcase how modern practices (tools, tech, and management) can make the services we delivery more efficient and effective — and ultimately transform the capabilities of government provides.” - Jay Huie
18F team member Mike Hsu
“It's been great working with wonderfully talented people from all over the country who have the same passion for improving our government. Even though I've only been here for four months, I've already been able to help agencies practice Agile practices, and now I've working to move them to ‘the cloud’.” - Mike Hsu
18F team member Larry Bafundo
“While at 18F, I’ve enjoyed coaching partners on how agile works and why user-centered design is important. I’m currently working on a prototyping project, which in itself is a new experience for our partners that I think they will learn a lot from.” - Larry Bafundo
18F team member Tim Jones
"I’ve enjoyed joining the team working at the National Technical Information Service, where we’re applying modern lean techniques such as the Business Model Canvas to their portfolio of data products and services. It’s a great feeling to help an agency redefine existing products, and launch new ones in a public sector context." - Tim Jones
18F team member Jesse Taggert
“I have loved working with the caring and smart executives, program officers, contracting officers, certifiers, writers, subject matter experts, and administrative assistants who are charged with making government work. The Department of Labor, Social Security, Treasury, Environmental Protection Agency — all the agencies I have worked with have people like this. A good day is when I listen to their problem, offer an idea or process improvement that helps them achieve their goal — and they adopt it and love it!” -
18F team member Randy Hart
“I've loved working on new acquisition processes focused on smaller, incremental contracts that can show our clients that this new agile, modular methodology will work. I've enjoyed being part of something where experimentation and risk-taking is encouraged and there's less fear of failing. I've enjoyed being part of a team that acknowledges the current approach to acquiring tech is broken, and is ready to try new ways of doing it differently.” -
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"I have loved being a part of meetings where 18F can provide a path forward for agencies that are frustrated with their current IT systems and products. The "lightbulb" moment when clients hear what 18F has to offer and are amazed at the technical expertise never gets old!" - Olesya Minina

Team building

The Engineering team is composed of smaller teams each organized by a facilitator. While most engineers at 18F will work in cross-functional project teams, their engineering teams will serve as small communities of practice designed to encourage cross-pollination that might not otherwise occur in a large, distributed team.

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18F team member Theresa Summa
“I love working to make sure the folks of the Engineering chapter feel supported, are happy with their work, and have skill growth opportunities.” -
18F team member Elaine Kamlley
“I am a part of the diversity and inclusion working group here at 18F and one project that has got me super excited has been our listening tour. We are talking to 25 individuals who have been underrepresented in tech, and our main goal for these interviews is to listen to people from diverse backgrounds, to hear from them about what blockers they face when applying for jobs, what factors come into play when considering a job, and what does a thriving environment look like. By doing this work and listening to real life experiences, it provides us with crucial information on the most mindful way to move forward.” -
18F team member Erica Deahl
“We’ve cultivated a strong design culture at 18F, and I’ve loved playing a small role in that. It’s exciting to help get great designers to work here by speaking about our work and participating in our hiring process, and I’ve loved being able to help organize practices like workshops and critique groups that allow us designers to better support each other’s work.” -
18F team member Nick Bristow
“The Accessibility Guild. I came into 18F hoping to build a better environment for developing accessible solutions, and putting the guild together and the response from the team has exceeded my expectations in every way.” -
18F team member Meghana Khandekar
“I'm part of the diversity and inclusion working group here, and one of the projects I raised my hand to work on is research that will help reach one of our goals for 2016: to build a team that looks like America. So, we're asking questions and listening to people outside of 18F and within 18F. What we learn from these conversations and real experiences will help us get better at not only recruiting, but making sure we do all the things needed to retain, train, and support a talented and diverse group of people.” -
18F team member Anna Heller Sebok
“I’ve loved much of the stuff that I’ve worked on, particularly the product guide and our annual offsite, but I’ve especially enjoyed digging deep into establishing one of our new business lines. I can already tell, in the early stages, that we’re going to do such great things for the future of 18F.” -
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"So far, everything I've been involved with. I've only worked on internal tools so far and it's rewarding to help your teammates. Seeing the things coming down the pipe and what kinds of impacts we'll have on a larger scale have has me excited to keep going." - Greg Walker
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"Maturing the pipeline between Great Pitch and Program Review to make sure our portfolio has the right mix of products and services that government needs." - Vicki McFadden
18F team member Matt Spencer
IAA and Tock data analysis” - Matt Spencer

Content design

Our content designers help people clarify their tone and voice, and explore the breadth and depth of their content.

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18F team member Kate Garklavs
“Ahh! If I were to list everything, I’d totally take over this blog post (which would be a pretty uncool thing to do, when it comes right down to it), so I’ll just name a few. I’m extremely proud of the content strategy and design work I did for USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services); creating welcoming, easy-to-use Constitution Week content was really rewarding. Helping get 18F’s Writing Lab off the ground is another major accomplishment. To date, this internal, ad-hoc writing help center has completed more than 120 projects for our team and partner agencies alike. I’m currently working on the Federal Front Door project, the goal of which is to improve government interactions with the public — a lofty goal, to be sure, and one that’s extremely exciting to be working toward.” -
18F team member Emileigh Barnes
“The content design for betaFEC is the most technical, intricate content puzzle I’ve ever worked on. I’ve spent more hours thinking about microcopy on data tables than I can count. And I’ve had the immense honor of tackling a high-stakes plain language project at an extremely technical government agency. As a lover of words and open government, I couldn’t be happier.” -
18F team member Rebecca Piazza
“I'm proud of the work we've done to rewrite legalese into plain language. Government websites can be intimidating and confusing and plain language helps make government services seem more accessible and approachable.” -

People, places, and things

When people are asked about their favorite part of 18F, many say ‘the people!’ As our Talent Director Jen Tress says, “We like that.”

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18F team member Julia Elman
“To be honest, the love I have for 18F is not necessarily associated with projects or tasks. The love I have is for the talented, kind hearted, and hard working people at 18F that I feel lucky to call my colleagues and friends.” -
18F team member Aaron Snow
“The project I love working on the most at 18F is...18F. I'm off-the-charts proud of the team we've assembled, the culture we've developed, the products and services we've delivered, and the difference we're making every day. And we couldn't have done any of it without our GSA brothers and sisters and our 40+ agency client-partners.” -
18F team member Elaine Kamlley
“The opportunity to make a larger impact. Why I stay? The people. Who I work with and those we serve.” -
18F team member Micah Saul
“The 18F team is one of the most amazing groups of people I’ve ever worked with. Being able to spend part of my time helping grow and nurture that culture as part of the engineering leadership team is the best part of my job.” - Micah Saul
18F team member Gray Brooks
“Promoting an environment where solid digital staff can be both productive and happy.” -
18F team member V. David Zvenyach
“I love the people. It’s a constant source of inspiration to be surrounded by brilliant, hard-working, funny, and dedicated public servants. With colleagues like mine, pushing the boulder uphill is fantastic!” -
18F team member Kara DeFrias
“Helping shape the organization as a senior advisor; specifically leading the 18F IRL event, our biannual in-person get together. We have an incredible, cross-functional team of folks who work really hard to make this event meaningful, and fun, for their coworkers!” -

Platforms and tools

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18F team member Catherine Devlin
“I love working on our AutoAPI project, because it will make it dead-simple for agencies to open machine-readable data to the public.” -
18F team member James Scott
“I love working on cloud.gov at 18F. As a developer and a user of the platform, it's really exciting to be solving a problem 18F experiences that will potentially benefit all of government.” - James Scott
18F team member Eric Mill
“I've greatly enjoyed working with the Digital Analytics Program, on analytics.usa.gov and the overall program. I've also loved the opportunity to help improve the security and privacy of the federal government's online services.” -
18F team member Jeremia Kimelman
“I have really enjoyed working on Federalist, a CMS-like platform for producing fast, content-heavy government websites.” -
18F team member Alla Goldman Seiffert
“I’ve really enjoyed building out the micro-purchase platform and creating a successful proof-of-concept for open-source code procurement in the federal space. Great, effective code doesn’t have to require year-long procurement processes, and I feel fortunate to have been able to work on the project and enable so many vendors to ship code (and get paid) using agile methodologies and open source best practices.” -
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"I have loved working on the micro-purchase platform. It's been remarkable to help with a project that started out as an idea and within a few months turn it into something real." -
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"The micro-purchase platform." - Laura Gerhardt
18F team member Noah Kunin
“As the Infrastructure Director, I'm blessed to be able to jump into almost every project 18F works on. But I'd remiss not to mention our flagship platform project, cloud.gov!” -
18F team member Bret Mogilefsky
“I've loved being the product lead for cloud.gov, which will be a huge force-magnifier enabling the entire federal government to improve how it serves the public faster. One of our first customers is the EPA, and we're also helping the rest of government reduce its power consumption. That means I'm also helping fight climate change in my day job, which was more than I'd even hoped for.” -

Partner agency work

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18F team member Christine Cheung
“I fully enjoyed working on Every Kid in a Park and seeing the positive feedback from everyone. I also liked working on CALC, a tool to help save taxpayer dollars and to help simplify a known annoying internal government process.” - Christine Cheung
18F team member Raphael Villas
“The team I'm on is building C2, software that helps streamline government procurement for government purchase card holders. I love how it grew from a tiny prototype into a fully functional application that is being used by people daily to get their work done.” - Raphael Villas
18F team member Lenny Bogdonoff
“I can't offer enough praise for how appreciative I am for my current project, C2. The project itself is a basic web application that provides purchase authorization workflows for small government purchasing decisions. The project itself is structured as a product that is being sold back to agencies. The way in which our team develops prototypes, researched assumptions, and releases code makes me feel like we are working on a small startup inside 18F. Most of all, I can't express how amazing my coworkers are. Through the project, I’m learning a lot about areas that I previously didn’t explore. Overall +100%.” - Lenny Bogdonoff
18F team member Shawn Allen
“I have loved working on the College Scorecard, knowing that it could make a huge difference for people seeking an education. I wish I'd had a resource like that back when I was looking for a college!” -
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“I love working on College Scorecard, where we can quickly, easily, and transparently provide facts about our educational institutions and how they impact our lives.” - Steven Harms
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“I have loved working on eRegs — my only project so far. I have enjoyed the infectious enthusiasm and pride displayed by everyone in doing their civic duty.” - Vraj Mohan
18F team member CM Lubinski
“I'm a sucker for eRegulations, a legal document parser and viewer. I think there's so much potential to modernize and automate the law, and we're getting there one step at a time.” -
18F team member Michelle Hertzfeld
“I love working on EITI — Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. It is part of an international effort to make oil, gas, coal, and other extractives data more accessible and understandable, and really suits my interest in making public policy something that is more accessible to everyone.” -
18F team member Leah Bannon
“Improving the public’s access to data about politics and campaign finance was very compelling to me, so similarly, I wanted to work on the Federal Election Commission project for months before I joined and was following it, lobbying to get on it. This project, our team, and our relationship with the client has grown and improved so much over the past year, and I have really loved helping make that possible.” -
18F team member Brian Hedberg
“I have loved working on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) site. We have been trying to turn a bunch of large, often wonky datasets into visualizations that are useful or interesting to a large range of people. It is an interesting problem that hasn’t always had a clear answer. I’m excited to see the long-term impacts of the site will be! It has been lovely to work with and learn from 18Fers Michelle Hertzfeld, Shawn Allen, Eric Ronne, Nicole Fenton, and Corey Mahoney, and our non-18F partners Judy Wilson, Chris Mentasi, Isabelle Brantley, and Sarah Platts.” - Brian Hedberg

Hiring

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18F team member Cristina Brydges
“I have enjoyed finding ways to streamline and improve the bureaucratic hiring process with my talent teammates. There are a lot of very skilled and accomplished people who want to join 18F and give back, and we want to make sure they have a pleasurable experience getting here.” - Cristina Brydges

User research

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18F team member Melody Kramer
“I really enjoyed the user research we conducted before overhauling onboarding. It informed our products and really helped me understand what each type of role at 18F needed from the onboarding experience.” -
18F team member Gail Swanson
“Right now I am doing research to understand the experience of enrolling for public safety net services. Not only is it humbling to spend time with people who are struggling to support their families, but enlightening. This is the project I was dreaming about when I joined the team.” - Gail Swanson
18F team member Meghana Khandekar
“I'm doing research reflecting upon the question "What is the current experience of applying to public benefits (food stamps, housing assistance, etc) and what can be done to improve this experience?". So, we're listening to and learning from stories from people applying for benefits as well as service providers. People's circumstances are so difficult sometimes, and I truly hope our work leads to taking away some unnecessary barriers that prevent them from leading healthier and safer lives.” -

Everything!

These people picked more than one project…

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"I view the projects I work on as umbrellas that cover or overlap many aspects of how people interact with the government. Whether it's interagency interactions like the [Open Opportunities</a> platform or the Federal Front Door welcoming civilians into necessary interactions with the government, I see the projects I am working on as a web that helps bring down walls around information or shed light into perceived black-box processes." - Roger Ruiz
18F team member Annalee Flower Horne
“I've most loved working with 18F's diversity working group to help us build a diverse and inclusive team. Project-wise, I'm really proud of our work on the Peace Corps project — especially on our work to make the Django admin interface more accessible to low-vision users.” - Annalee Flower Horne
18F team member Sarah Allen
“I’ve loved creating an open source community that spans the private and public sector through Open Opportunities and the College Scorecard projects.” -
18F team member Chris Goranson
“Every Kid in a Park, Digital Acquisition Pilot, USAID's RFP ghostwriting workshops, U.S. Navy's Talent Link Prototyping Workshop, and transformation work at the National Technical Information Service. Oh, and smaller contributions to a number of really interesting 18F initiatives with wonderful coworkers.” -
18F team member Carlo Costino
“I have loved working on both the Team API and its related projects in order to support the tools that help build and propagate 18F’s internal data, and I have loved working with the FEC project team (and the FEC itself!) on the new FEC web site. It’s been the best of both worlds so far as I’ve been able to dive back into technologies I haven’t worked with in a while, learn a whole host of new things, and engage directly with some of our agency partners. I have also greatly enjoyed participating in our working groups and see them as a conduit for instilling a culture of learning and keeping ourselves apprised of better ways we could approach our work and industry best-practices.” - Carlo Costino
18F team member Maya Benari
“I've loved working on the Draft U.S. Web Design Standards, Federal Front Door, CALC, 18F Brand website, and the "guys" auto-response Slackbot.” -
18F team member Nicole Fenton
“So far, I’ve worked on onboarding and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). I loved working with the EITI team, because they’re focused on open data that ties with climate change and larger accountability initiatives within the government. I’ve also enjoyed working on onboarding, because I get to learn about different teams, meet new people as they join 18F, and help improve our internal documentation on a daily basis.” -

Design Standards

18F team member Marco Segreto
“As a front end developer at 18F, I've worked on many different projects. Two highlights are the Draft U.S. Web Design Standards, a visual style guide and UI component library for federal websites, and the 18F Front End Guild. The Design Standards purpose is to improve design of Federal websites by providing a shared, usable, accessible style that can be installed and configured for different sites. One great thing about the Standards is it attempts to use the top, modern front end practices, so it ends up bringing these best practices to the federal government. Being an example of using good front end practices fits well into the goals of the 18F Front End Guild: a group of developers all interested in improving front end development across 18F. The guild works to set standards, create guides, teach classes, and mentor other developers to make front end development as easy as possible at 18F.” -

18F Blog

18F team member Andre Francisco
“I’ve loved working on 18F’s blog because it’s unusual for a government blog in the topics it covers but also that part of our mission is to get as many voices talking about our work as we can. I love working with team members to get their first post up on the site.” -
18F team member Greg Boone
“I've loved finding creative ways to tell the stories behind our projects.” -

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