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Department of Labor

Becoming a digital-first agency

the team working out of the 18F common space. Developers on the left. Investigators (users) and product owners talking about needs on the right. Taped to the windows are the progress boards (Backlog, Current, Done).

Project details

Federal labor laws provide many important protections for workers, such as minimum wage and restrictions on child labor. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division is responsible for enforcing them.

The Wage and Hour Division wanted to start using more modern software development methods, but they wanted proof that these new methods would address the division’s particular challenges before seeking buy-in from their leadership. They approached 18F to see how we could help.


Starting with small projects to demonstrate quick wins

The first thing we did was share how 18F implements user-centered design. We chose a small project to work on, observed how people in the Wage and Hour Division do their work, then quickly created a lightweight demo of how to address the barriers they encountered.

After they saw the benefits of iterative and user-centered design, we helped them develop a plan to transform the Wage and Hour Division into a digital-first agency. These efforts included training and mentoring to develop the agile skills of their in-house team, recruiting first-class digital talent, developing a user-centric culture and making data-influenced decisions.

We’ve worked closely the Wage and Hour Division for two years now, and while we’re still supporting their efforts in some areas, there are teams within the agency that are now successfully using agile techniques to approach their work.

Agency partner

Department of Labor

Related blog posts

  • Building an effective agile partnership between government and industry

    The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor has been with 18F at the forefront of digital transformation and has been an outstanding early adopter. One of our latest initiatives has been an Agile Delivery Services Blanket Purchase Agreement (Agile BPA) Task Order to create the initial version of a web application tool for the Section 14(c) certificate application process.
  • How a two-day sprint moved an agency twenty years forward

    At 18F Consulting, we experiment with ways to empower agencies to build cost-efficient, excellent digital solutions. Recently we partnered with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division to run a two day “Design/Dev Agile Sprint” to help them modernize their Field Operations Handbook.