Sprinting Towards Success with Microsoft Cloud Procurement Sprint

By: Kristy Hartmann, CA DCSS

When a small group of people are in a “sprint” at the California Department of Child Support Services (CA DCSS), they are not in their tennis shoes and running at top speed around the building. Rather, they are deeply focused in a meeting addressing specific issues the department is facing and discussing how to accomplish certain goals in an organized and collaborative way. Sprints are held for a set period of time (usually 5 days), during which several dedicated individuals and a facilitator inspect the issue, identify what changes need to be made, and produce quality work. With a small workgroup concentrating on tackling the issues and creating solutions, sprints often result in important decisions being made that catapult the department forward. One example is the highly successful Hackathon from 2018, a two-week sprint that achieved fifteen different initiatives.

CA DCSS held a sprint in December 2019 to focus on the challenges of the Child Support Enforcement (CSE) system and prepare for the migration of CSE into the Microsoft Azure Cloud. CSE currently lacks the ability to meet business demands in a timely manner, its infrastructure does not provide enough security, nor does it allow for a self-service on-demand model, all of which are crucial to the needs of stakeholders and customers. The Cloud Support procurement sprint was an extraordinary collaboration between the Contracts and Procurement Branch, the Technology Services Division (TSD), and Office of Legal Services. Scheduled for ten days, the sprint was completed in just six days due to the efforts and teamwork of the participants: Maria Gianelli, who was the facilitator and legal representative, Catherine Lanzaro, Andrea Hoffman, Cheryl Carlson, Charley Jones, Melissa Jones, Duke Reyes, Treb Pascual, Ramon Castellano, Gulzar Jaggi, Karen Quest, Kim Sichler, Dinesh Joshi, Kim Peng, and Mark Luu.

The team achieved all the goals of the sprint and finished the procurement work of thirteen statements of work (SOWs) to support the upcoming migration of the CSE infrastructure into the Cloud. One of the biggest challenges was completing all the supporting procurement work by December 23, 2019 in order to have the services on site by April 2020. Most procurement work takes at least 18 months, but the team was able to precisely define the SOWs and reduce the effort to just five months; this includes oversight agency review and approval. Congratulations to the sprint workgroup for setting CA DCSS up for success!

What does this all mean for CA DCSS, as well as the local child support agencies and California families? Once CSE transitions to the Cloud, CA DCSS will have greater security, increased efficiency, and lower costs. The CSE system will be able to serve child support agencies and California families and meet business needs in a timely and more cost-efficient manner.

“In my 20 years working for CA DCSS, I have had the opportunity to work with many great teams. Working with this team convinced me that CA DCSS is in good hands for the future and all the opportunities and challenges ahead,” Gianelli said.

While this sprint is done, there is still a lot of work left to do. The next steps are to select and onboard the vendor, which TSD will be working on from now until March 2020. Stay tuned to learn more about the migration!