Letter regarding process of government web site development

Senator Brownsberger passed on the ideas of a constituent for improving the process by whicvh government enters into contracts for web site development.

December 9, 2013



John Letchford

Chief Information Officer and

   Assistant Secretary

Administration & Finance

1 Ashburton Place, Room 804

Boston, MA 02108

 Dear Mr. Letchford,

 I have recently met with a constituent, a software architect, who has given a lot of thought to improving the process by which government agencies enter into contracts for web site development. He feels that by using more of the private sector expertise in this state, projects would be better planned and designed.

 His suggested vehicle for doing this is github.com.  If certain documentation is put online before, during and after any IT project, the software engineering community will make suggestions and contributions that improve the project before it is put into use, thereby forestalling many of the “glitches” so evident recently.  Sharing basic architecture does not affect the security of the site; it is frequently done.

 He has suggested five requirements that all IT projects should have, by law: – All IT projects must have a requirements document that is posted online in HTML form in a dedicated GitHub project, with only minor redactions for security purposes. 

 The winning vendor for the project must post its response to the bid request in GitHub also.

– The proposed architectural design document for the project must be posted online.

 Before the site goes live, the actual implemented architecture must be posted online. (there are always major changes between the initial design and what gets implemented)

– After the site goes live, all relevant projects artifacts from the project must be posted online.

 It seems to me that these ideas are worth consideration and I would appreciate a conversation with you after you have had a chance to assess them.



 William N. Brownsberger


View letter.