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Department of the Treasury

Implementing a government-wide law

Data Act logo alongside the words Better Data

Project details

The Department of the Treasury manages the $3.8 trillion spent by the U.S. federal government every year. For most people, it’s difficult to know exactly where that money goes.

Congress passed the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) of 2014 to help the public better understand how federal money is spent. The DATA Act requires federal agencies to adopt a common data standard. Treasury and the Office of Management and Budget led the implementation of the DATA Act. They needed help developing the new data standard and planning for its technical implementation.


  • Together with our partner we built a prototype for ingesting and presenting data. This allowed us to get user feedback before the data standard was final.
  • We developed a procurement strategy to make sure Treasury hired a qualified vendor.
  • We conducted user research on a new site design.
  • Informed by the prototype and user-centered design, the vendor built


  • Our iterative approach allowed Treasury to reduce risk, use actual data to make decisions, and speed up implementation of a very complex law.
  • The site gives the public powerful tools to examine federal spending.
  • DATA Act implementation is one of the largest government-wide agile projects ever undertaken. The new tool ingests information from across the government.
  • 18F provided the development expertise, procurement strategy and product management to ensure a successful project.

The commitment of the team and the participation of 18F subject matter experts actually simplified our job. While many organizations publicly buy into the concept and value of Agile, this team demonstrated how it would succeed. Our sponsor was committed, our product owners were engaged. and with our 18F Agile leaders helping to demonstrate best practice, our workstreams coordinated seamlessly.
—Sherry L. Weir
Kearney & Company, prime contractor on the DATA Act project

Agency partner

Department of the Treasury

See our work

  • Getting prepared to prototype

    In product development, we often use prototypes to understand user needs and reduce risk. Prototypes are a great way to test out ideas or approaches before you actually commit to building anything, but governments are not always set up to develop and use prototypes efficiently before building digital services.
  • Renata Maziarz: Model civil servant

    In the course of our engagements, we’ve had many amazing partners who have been practicing similar innovative techniques long before 18F existed, but usually in isolation. Today, we’re highlighting one of those amazing partners: Renata Maziarz, at the Bureau of Fiscal Service in the Department of the Treasury.
  • TTS projects forward Open Government Partnership principles

    The U.S. Open Government National Action Plans promote the Open Government Partnership’s principles of transparency, facilitating access to government services for the public, and citizen engagement. 18F has worked with several agencies to advance the these goals through projects like DATA Act, eRegulations, USEITI, College Scorecard, and the Public Participation Playbook.