For the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), the biggest challenges for implementing new tools include working through policy points and providing balanced product teams to do software engineering well.

“It’s not just the tools we have, but it’s designing and building with our users and to do that we really need our balanced product teams,” NGA Deputy CTO Alexander Loehr said, while adding that teams should include user experience professionals along with product managers that are empowered to make prioritization decisions.

Senior Software Engineer, Nicholas Patsaros, said that the attrition rate within the large agency is “very, very low” and adds that it could be because the agency is relatively new, but hopes it’s because NGA is providing good tooling and keeping personnel engaged with interesting mission work.

“The biggest challenges we actually face are typically policy related. and how do we modernize our policies,” Geospatial Intelligence Services Chief Engineer Andrew Curtis said. Curtis said that updating policies to accommodate speed is important for NGA and that it is trying to develop resources outside of the traditional resources.

Curtis offered that NGA was working on a project called “Endor” which is a customer experience-focused tool to “stand up all of our development space, and some production space, and a commercial available space,” he said.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.