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Glossary

  • 10X - A way for federal employees across the government to pitch an idea that would solve a problem. The ideas are evaluated by TTS.

  • 18F - 18F develops partnerships with agencies to help them deliver exceptional digital experiences that address their strategic initiatives. They also aim to strengthen government technology practices in ways that last beyond their formal partnerships. 18F is an office within TTS.

  • 2FA - Two-factor authentication: entering a second, temporary code in addition to a username and password. 2FA provides added security when logging in to programs, like GitHub, remotely.

  • 508 - The federal regulation that requires government IT projects be accessible to people with disabilities.

  • A-11 - A type of document published by the OMB that tells federal agencies how to make budget requests.

  • a11y - A numeronym that stands for “accessibility.”

  • ACQ - Acquisitions. A discipline across the federal government responsible for purchases, and a chapter within 18f

  • Agile - A software development methodology based on collaboration, iteration, feedback, and constant improvement.

  • API - Application programming interface. Think of them as a way for computers to interact, either internally or between one another. If you wanted to make a website that shows the current temperature wherever you are, your code talks to one API to get your location, then another to find out the weather in that area.

  • ASF - Acquisition Services Fund. One source of TTS funding.

  • AT - Assistive Technology. Includes accessibility software.

  • ATO - Authority to Operate. It’s a sign-off from an authorized agency official for a website to be allowed to engage with citizens, including security and some other stuff. Learn more about ATOs in the Before You Ship guide.

  • Availability means the availability of the services we provide. If an app goes down or something we expect to be running stops running, those are availability issues. This only refers to production systems (it’s fine if your demo app crashes), and only to unexpected downtime. If you decide to shut something down temporarily for maintenance — go for it, not an incident.

  • AWS - Amazon Web Services. Some TTS services use AWS to host websites. Read easy-to-understand descriptions of the different pieces here.

  • AWS - Alternative Work Schedule. Working eight, 10-hour days or working nine, nine-hour days in a pay period.

  • Back end developer - The people who write the code for the parts of a web site you don’t see, working in programming languages like Ruby, Python, or NodeJS. They work on pieces of the application that, for example:

    • Generate shopping recommendations
    • Gather all of the information for search to work
    • Trigger emails being sent
  • BOC - Budget Object Code. Used for accounting.

  • CALC - Contract-Awarded Labor Category.

  • CI/CD - Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment. Automated software testing (CI) practiced along with automated deployment of frequent, small changes to software (CD).

  • Clients and Markets - Clients and Markets is a division within TTS that provides consulting services to government agencies. The TTS communications team is also part of the division. The following offices and teams are part of Clients and Markets: 18F, Centers of Excellence, Client Development, Outreach, and Presidential Innovation Fellows.

  • CO - Contracting Officer. A part of acquisitions.

  • CMS - Content Management System. Software for creating, managing, and publishing content.

  • CMS - Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Agency within Health and Human Services (HHS). One of the Ms is silent.

  • CoEs – The Centers of Excellence accelerate the modernization of IT infrastructure across government by leveraging private sector innovation and existing government services, and by centralizing best practices and expertise. The CoEs are an office within TTS.

  • Color of money - Slang for the legal parameters around how federal money for goods or services can be spent. This usually comes up in the context of inter-agency agreements with other federal agencies. The different “colors” of money include multi-year, no year, or one year money.

  • Confidentiality - means: secrets. Personal information (PII) — names, phone numbers, social security numbers, etc — is one kind of secret, but so are your passwords, service credentials, internal non-public documents, etc. Any time you suspect that confidential information may have been leaked outside TTS, you should open an incident.

  • COOP - Continuity of Operations Plan, a plan for emergency situations like natural disasters.

  • CRM - Customer Relationship Management software, which can help organizations track contacts and interactions with customers.

  • CRM - Customer Responsibility Matrix. A list of required security controls detailing who is responsible for each. It guidance on (for example) which controls a customer can inherit from cloud.gov.

  • CUI - Controlled Unclassified Information.

  • CX - Customer Experience.

  • DAP - Digital Analytics Program. A GSA service that provides a web analytics tool and training on how to use it.

  • Dev - Someone who does software development. A “coder.”

  • DevOps - Development and Operations. Practices or people who work on or seek to improve software delivery using (for example) CI/CD.

  • Digital Gov - A platform to help those in agencies working on providing digital services and information for the public. Posts information on what government is doing in digital, general digital news, trends and issues on implementing digital for the public.

  • Dogfooding - To “eat your own dog food.” For our purposes, this means using the things we build.

  • E&I - Experiment & Iterate. Produce code or detailed research iteratively for a fixed length of time.

  • ENT - Your username and password (which are called “credentials”) for doing things like:

    • Dell computer log on
    • GSA two-factor authentication
    • BookIT
    • Logging on to gsa-wireless
  • FAS - The Federal Acquisition Service is a GSA office dedicated to helping federal agencies buy products and services. TTS is part of FAS.

  • FISMA - Federal Information Security Management Act, a framework of various levels of information security.

  • FOIA - Freedom of Information Act, a law which allows the public to see government records.

  • Front end developer - The people who work on the parts of the site that you see, making the page look the way it’s supposed to, have buttons in the right places, etc. They write HTML, CSS, and usually JavaScript.

  • Full stack developer - Someone who does both front end and back end development.

  • GCIMSGSA Credential and Identity Management System, a GSA internal web database that provides authoritative information on GSA personnel, work locations and credentials. GCIMS also stores your contact information, so you may need to update that from time to time.

  • GDS - the UK’s Government Digital Services are government pioneers and fellow technologists across the pond.

  • GitHub - A website to help people collaborate to build software. It’s a tool that can be used for finding projects, proposing fixes, having discussions, and more.

  • Grok - To fully understand something.

  • GSA - The General Services Administration is an independent agency whose mission is to deliver value and savings in real estate, acquisition, technology, and other mission-support services across government. TTS is part of FAS, which is part of GSA.

  • HCD - Human-Centered Design, developing software (and other systems) with a consistent focus on the users’ perspective and needs

  • HISP - High Impact Service Providers. Particular parts of the government that make a big impact on the public because of their importance and scale.

  • HR Links - HR Links is GSA’s system for HR actions, including requesting leave and managing performance review documents.

  • IAA - Interagency agreement: a contract between federal agencies.

  • IaaS - Infrastructure as a Service. A service that provides on-demand computing services such as storage. This is the foundation on which organizations can build and maintain cloud services.

  • IaC - Infrastructure as Code. A technique allowing a software engineer to write code that defines IT infrastructure, like, definitions of servers needed by a project. The code can be read by a machine that then provisions the needed server.

  • IGCE - Independent Government Cost Estimate. Based upon SOW.

  • Integrity - means the soundness/fitness of purpose of our systems or information. So if a backup was lost, or an app stopped logging for a while, or some documents got deleted, those are integrity issues. Sometimes these can indicate deeper incidents (like an attacker deleting logs to cover their tracks), so it’s important to report these.

  • ISSO - Information System Security Officer.

  • IV&V - Independent Verification and Validation.

  • JAB - Joint Authorization Board. The primary governing body for FedRAMP; can grant provisional authorizations.

  • MVP - Minimum Viable Product.

  • MOU - Memorandum of understanding.

  • NEO - New Employee Orientation.

  • OA - Office of Acquisition.

  • OAuth - Open Authorization. An open standard for authentication and authorization, which allows a user’s account information to be used by third-party services without exposing their password.

  • OCE - GSA’s Office of Customer Experience.

  • OGC - Office of General Counsel, aka GSA’s legal team.

  • OCIO - Office of the Chief Information Officer.

  • OKR - Objectives and Key Results. A system for setting individual and organizational goals with clear ways to measure success.

  • OLU - On-Line University, where our agency’s mandatory training classes are hosted.

  • OMB - Office of Management and Budget, an office of the White House that administers the federal budget and spending by federal agencies.

  • Open source software - Software that does not charge users a purchase or licensing fee for modifying or redistributing the source code. Anyone can study, change, or distribute the code for any purpose.

  • OSC - Office of Strategic Communications. GSA’s resource for external and internal communication needs. They respond to inquiries from journalists and work closely with the TTS Outreach team.

  • OTP - One-time password. (If you’re in Atlanta, this might refer to “outside the perimeter,” as opposed to ITP (inside the perimeter).)

  • PA - Path Analysis.

  • PaaS - Platform as a Service. An online application that manages a number of the behind-the-scenes tasks for you when you maintain a website or other online service. There are many PaaS options, but TTS has created cloud.gov specifically to meet the security and regulatory needs of federal agencies.

  • PBS - The Public Buildings Service is the landlord for the civilian federal government. It is the other major service provided by the GSA besides FAS.

  • PD - Position Description: description of the roles, responsibilities, qualifications, and expectations of an employee in a given position. Often called a job description.

  • PIA - Privacy Impact Assessment.

  • PIF - The Presidential Innovation Fellows program pairs innovators with top civil servants in the highest levels of the federal government to tackle some of the biggest challenges. PIF is an office within TTS.

  • PII - Personally Identifiable Information.

  • PMO - Project (or Program) Management Office, a temporary office to focus on a special funding project.

  • POAM - Plan of Action and Milestones, also POA&M. A document created as part of the ATO process that specifies any weaknesses in a system’s security and/or compliance that should be addressed, and a plan and milestones for how that will be done.

  • PoC - Proof of Concept. An exercise to test the real-world potential of an idea.

  • PoC - Point of Contact.

  • PoP - Period of Performance. Time window for an IAA.

  • PR - Pull Request. When a software developer makes a change to some code, they then create a PR to request that their code be accepted into the project’s repo.

  • Proc - Procurement.

  • PRA - The Paperwork Reduction Act, enacted in 1980, aims to reduce the burden of federally imposed paperwork for U.S. businesses and the public.

  • PMA - President’s Management Agenda.

  • Product Manager - Product managers ensure that the right product is built at the right time and for the right people. They establish a product vision and help their teams translate that vision into reality by creating and maintaining product roadmaps, deeply understanding users, technology, and business context, and prioritizing design and development tasks accordingly.

  • QASP - Quality Assurance Surveillance Plan. Often pronounced to rhyme with “wasp.”

  • Repo - Repository. A place to store code or data in a central location (such as GitHub).

  • RfQ - Request for Quotation. Soliciting bids from vendors, then assessing those vendors and bids.

  • SaaS - Software as a Service. Individuals or agencies subscribe to an application, and then access it over the internet. Most online applications, such as Salesforce and Google Drive, fall into this category. Need to purchase a SaaS product? Here’s how to get software.

  • Scrum master - The facilitator for an agile development team.

  • SES - Senior Executive Service.

  • Ship - To produce and distribute code or some other product of work. Also, the Weekly Ship newsletter about a particular project, telling what that team shipped that week.

  • SME - Subject Matter Expert. Specialist with expertise in a particular discipline or subject matter.

  • SMT - Senior Management Team.

  • Solutions - Solutions is a division within TTS that helps the public use and understand government, and helps agencies understand and serve the public. To achieve this, they create, discover, connect and share practical solutions and products that transform government. The following offices and teams are part of Solutions: 10x, Artificial Intelligence Portfolio, Cloud.gov, Data & Analytics Portfolio, Federalist, Identity Program Management Office, Innovation Portfolio, Login.gov, Public Experience Portfolio (USAGov), Secure Cloud Portfolio, Smarter IT Portfolio, and TTS Tech Portfolio.

  • SOP - Standard Operating Procedure. Step-by-step instructions to help employees carry out routine operations efficiently and uniformly while maintaining compliance.

  • SOW - Statement of work. Document that defines project-specific activities, deliverables, and timelines for a vendor providing services to the client. May be part of an IAA.

  • SSP - System Security Plan.

  • TK - To Come, misspelled. Placeholder text used in draft documents.

  • TTS - The Technology Transformation Services aim to improve the public’s experience with the government by helping agencies build, buy, and share technology that allows them to better serve the public. This is the TTS Handbook, and you’re probably reading it because you’re an employee of TTS. TTS is part of FAS, which is part of GSA.

  • USDS - The United States Digital Service is a startup at The White House, using design and technology to deliver better services to the American people.

  • UX - User experience. The overall experience that people have when they use a product or service. UX also refers to the field of user experience design, which focuses on building things with a focus on who the user is and what they want to do, rather than just what it should look like.

  • VPN - Virtual Private Network is a way to pretend that you’re on the GSA network when you’re not in a GSA building, which also makes your Internet connection more secure. It’s required for access to some GSA sites. See Citrix or AnyConnect.

  • Waterfall development - An approach to software development projects based on upfront planning and linear, sequential execution.

  • WCAG - Web Content Accessibility Guidelines for web developers and designers to build inclusive software.

  • WiP - Work in Progress.

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