Workshops

The Code for America Summit workshops are interactive professional development opportunities led by government and technology leaders striving to design a better government. Enjoy 101-level introductions to general topics such as product management, user research and prototyping, to intermediate and advanced workshops covering the hiring pipeline, emerging technology, security and urban transit policy.


User-Centered Design and Design Thinking for Government Innovation

Government services can look radically different from what bureaucrats envision to how citizens experience them. Even with the best intentions and smart policy, benefits are going unclaimed, customer satisfaction scores are low, and the government employees on the front lines can feel hamstrung and frustrated. But design tools can provide new ways to create surprising and delightful experiences for both customers and civil servants—and increase the impact and efficiency of delivering public services.

During this hands-on workshop, you'll learn about methods to help government agencies innovate. You'll break out into a track specific to the work you're doing—like managing social safety net benefits or streamlining digital services—to imagine ways these tools can be used when you get back to the office.


Led by: To be announced
Audience: Beginner/Intermediate
Timing: Morning - 9:30am - 12:30pm

DevOps and Continuous Delivery 101

This workshop presents the principles and practices behind continuous delivery and the DevOps movement, along with case studies from real companies and ideas to help you adopt continuous delivery and DevOps in government.

Putting DevOps and continuous delivery into practice requires both process and culture change, which can be particularly difficult in the context of government. After taking this training, you’ll have learned how to measure your progress implementing DevOps and continuous delivery, what's necessary to make it successful in a regulated context, and how to advocate for the changes required with key stakeholders, including leadership and information security.


Led by: Jez Humble, Google Cloud and University of California-Berkeley
Audience: Beginner
Timing: Afternoon - 1:30pm - 4:30pm

Solving Your Hiring Problem

Are you trying to hire technical experts in government (local, state, or federal)? How's it going? If it's anything like our early efforts, probably not well. Save yourself a few headaches and come learn from our experience setting up the U.S. Digital Service recruiting and hiring pipeline. We'll walk through how we set up the entire process, from identifying staffing needs, to recruiting, to selection, to hiring, and—most importantly—how you can use these lessons yourself. This session will focus on identifying your blockers, creating strategies to overcome them, and putting that in the larger framework of a recruiting, selection, and hiring process.


Led by: Jennifer Anastasoff and Jenny Smith
Audience: Intermediate
Timing: Morning - 9:30am - 12:30pm

Leading Successful, Innovative Teams in Government

In this interactive workshop, we will dive into the essential attributes needed to succeed as a 21st century government leader based on the Partnership for Public Service’s extensive research, close collaboration with innovative leaders across the federal government and private sector best practices. The session will also explore specific ways you might apply these attributes in a team context. You will leave the session with a stronger self-awareness as a leader, prepared to lead your team to achieve greater results.


Led by: Andrew Marshall, Director for Leadership Development, Partnership for Public Service and certified executive coach, and Virginia Hamilton, Strategic Advisor, Partnership for Public Service and former Regional Administrator, U.S. Department of Labor
Audience: Intermediate
Timing: Afternoon - 1:30pm - 4:30pm

Product Management 101

This workshop for civil servants introduces product management as a discipline, covers why product management is critical in a government context, and gives participants a path towards developing their product management skills. We will discuss what individual product managers are responsible for, and the organizational support they need in order to succeed, before diving into hands-on activities that will give everyone a taste of what it's like to own a product.


Led by: To be announced
Audience: Beginner
Timing: Afternoon - 1:30pm - 4:30pm

Delivery-Driven Policy Design in Social Services and Urban Transit: An Overview

This workshop for policy specialists introduces human-centered, data-driven and design thinking concepts to crafting policy. Attendees will learn about the process of designing policy with explicit consideration as to how policy will be delivered, and how policy and service delivery can be approached iteratively.

An expert panel will share practical case studies in the fields of social service and urban transit policy, covering goals, techniques and outcomes, as well as methods for dealing with environmental conditions.


Led by: To be announced
Audience: Intermediate
Timing: Morning - 9:30am - 12:30pm

Buying Tech in 2019: A Procurement Workshop

Let’s talk about buying SaaS, PaaS, IaaS and custom software within the current legal framework. 18F, the State of California, and other municipalities have shown us that you break up monolithic, waterfall RFPs and recraft them for success. Come learn how to make acquisition joyful with modular contracting. You will leave with both a thorough understanding of best practices, procurement strategies, and sample language you can take home and use tomorrow.


Led by: Alla Seiffert, Internet Association, and Dave Zvenyach, independent consultant
Audience: Intermediate
Timing: Morning - 9:30am - 12:30pm

Understanding Data Protection + Privacy 101

This interactive workshop will cover the basic principles of lean data practices, or LDP. We will include operational tips on how to implement LDP internally, including security practices to consider. We will also explore the perspectives of different audiences who need to understand data collection and use and ways to make those communications more effective.


Led by: Mika Shah, Mozilla
Audience: Beginner
Timing: Morning - 9:30am - 12:30pm

Prototyping Products and Digital Services 101

We are faced with building solutions to highly complex problems with dense policies, hundreds of stakeholders and vulnerable populations who need services and help everyday. How do we build something in a feasible time frame without packing features into one massive release?

After the problem statement and ideation phase, the prototyping phase comes in. Using user-centered design methods, we will guide workshop participants to [design > test > build] through key prototyping concepts. Here, we will guide you step-by-step through exercises that show you how to rapidly prototype low-resolution concepts from hand-drawn sketches to clickable prototypes to better meet the needs of your users.


Led by: To be announced
Audience: Beginner
Timing: Afternoon - 1:30pm - 4:30pm

Design Research 101

Maybe this whole “design research” thing is new to you. Maybe you just want a refresher on the basics. Maybe you’ve done usability testing before, but aren’t sure how it works in government. In all cases, this workshop is for you. It will cover the essentials of discovery research and usability testing within state and local government. We’ll start with basic principles and methods, then move quickly into hands-on practice. Our goal is have every participant leave this workshop feeling confident that they are ready for a crucial activity in public service.


Led by: Elizabeth Goodman, former Director of Design at 18F, and Amber Reed, Chief Service Designer, Whole Person Care SF Department of Public Health
Audience: Beginner
Timing: Morning - 9:30am - 12:30pm

Evaluating Emerging Technologies: What You Need to Know About Machine Learning, Blockchain, Smart Cities, and More

In October 2018, the U.S. Government Defense Innovation Board published their guide to Detecting Agile BS. The guide gained instant notoriety for providing candid, no-nonsense guidance on telling the difference between claims and competency.

In this safe space workshop, facilitators will provided candid, independent points of view and you’ll learn criteria to apply to hot topics like machine learning, blockchain, smart cities, chatbots and voice assistants, to distinguish BS from what will help you get the job done.


Led by: Dan O’Neil, Civic Operator and Sharon Kennedy Vickers, City of Saint Paul
Audience: Beginner/Intermediate
Timing: Afternoon - 1:30pm - 4:30pm

Demystifying Data Sharing: How Local Governments Successfully Share Data

Policymakers and practitioners increasingly see the value of using data to help inform their decisions, provide more targeted services, and improve critical programs. Local government data often sits in silos across, or even within, government agencies, making legal, and ethical, data sharing, a key step to leveraging data science to help government improve. Understanding the laws and regulations that govern the use of data for research and analysis, while ensuring that data is used responsibly, is a critical component of a successful data or tech project.


Led by: Lynn Overmann and Catie Bialick, Arnold Foundation
Audience: Beginner/Intermediate
Timing: Afternoon - 1:30pm - 4:30pm

The Scooters Are Here: Scooters 101

2018 was the year of the e-scooter in urban transit. In the past year, cities across the country have been dealing with unexpected disruption: not autonomous, self-driving vehicles, but masses of dockless e-scooters.

This workshop is specifically for those working in transit policy, dealing with dockless scooter deployments or imminent deployments. It will cover in-depth tactical and strategic issues of practical use.


Led by: to be announced
Audience: Intermediate
Timing: Afternoon - 1:30pm - 4:30pm

Security and Risk Management in Digital Services 101

This workshop will introduce you to how to think about security and how it fits into the product development process. You will learn what security threats look like and how to apply key principles and processes to protect your projects. This workshop is built on years of experience shipping products and securing them in the private sector and in the federal government.


Led by: Alex Gaynor, Mozilla
Audience: Beginner
Timing: Morning - 9:30am - 12:30pm

Want to join us for Summit?