How we work

Together, we create a unified team by pairing our technical expertise with your program knowledge.

18F partners with civilian and military federal agencies to help you deliver exceptional digital experiences that address your strategic initiatives. Work with 18F to build a strategy, and then execute it either with 18F’s technical experts or with a private sector procurement guided by our acquisitions staff.

We engaged with 18F, and it was a game-changer for us. They came in and helped the IT team and business owners get involved in the agile development process. It changed our whole methodology. Now, it’s not just IT; it’s educating the entire staff on the agile methodology. - Federal Election Commission about the new

18F works with partners that have federal funding and, as a cost recoverable office, we’re required to charge for our work. 18F works on all types of projects from internal financial systems to public-facing data websites, and to ensure that we bring you tremendous value, we break our work into stages: Path Analysis, then Experiment and Iterate.

Path Analysis

If you’ve got a problem, 18F can help you make an informed, confident decision about how to move forward most effectively. With a Path Analysis, you’ll get a small 18F team of fellow federal employees with skills tailored to your problem. They’ll work closely with your office to develop an action-oriented analysis of routes to pursue, features to shelve, and the best ways to deliver value to your users.

We can help your office investigate how to integrate disparate data sources, find the pain points in internal systems, or survey the market for COTS solutions. Each Path Analysis is customized to the needs of an agency, with the goal of moving you from identifying a problem to working on a solution.

This phase lays the groundwork for continued progress with 18F or another technical team inside or outside of government. A Path Analysis typically assigns two or three 18F staff to your project for eight to ten weeks.

Do you have a project that needs technical expertise and an innovative strategy to move forward? Email us at, and we’ll set up a meeting.

Experiment and Iterate

Once your team has completed a Path Analysis with 18F, we can begin to experiment and iterate on a solution to your problem. An 18F team of engineers, designers, product managers, and strategists will work shoulder-to-shoulder with your team to investigate the challenges your users face and develop solutions to those problems. We’ll use proven techniques to test assumptions, make improvements, and move fast.

Along the way, 18F will help your team grow their skills in user-centered design, product management, and iterative software development. The goal is to allow your team to continue adding new features to your product or service with an in-house team or a contractor.

Each Experiment and Iterate phase involves a team of four to six people for 12 weeks. While each project needs only one Path Analysis, you can work with 18F on a series of Experiment and Iterate phases until you have a thorough roadmap to address user needs, a working product, and your team is ready to take over continued development. This model allows you to stay in control of your budget and remain flexible as requirements change.

Here are a couple of projects we’ve built with federal agencies using this process.

Have a project in mind?

Want to see if 18F can help your agency? We’d love to talk more, answer your questions, or learn more about what you’re working on.