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Talking With More Federal Agencies About API Micro Consulting

I have been having more conversations with federal agencies as part of my work with my Skylight partners about API related microconsulting. One recent conversation, which I won’t mention the agency, because I haven’t gotten approval, involved bug bounties on top of an API they are rolling out. The agency isn’t looking for the regular technology procurement lifecycle around this project, they are just looking for a little bit of research and consulting to help ensure they are on the right track when it comes to hardening their API approach.

Micro consulting like this will usually not exceed $5,000.00 USD, and will always be a short term commitment. From my vantage point micro consulting will always be API related, and in this particular case involves studying how other API providers in the private sector are leveraging bug bounties to help harden their APIs either before they go public, or afterwards in an ongoing fashion. After I do the research I will be taking this work back to my team of consultants at Skylight, and we’ll put together formal report and presentation that we will bring back to the federal government agency to put into motion.

This approach to doing APIs in the federal government (or any government) is a win-win. It fits with my approach to doing research at API Evangelist, and it provides API expertise for federal agencies in small, affordable, and bite-size chunks. Government agencies do not have to wait months, or years, and spend massive amounts of money to gain access to API expertise. For Skylight, it gets our foot in the door within government, and helps demonstrate the expertise we bring to the table. Something that will almost always turn into additional micro procurement relationships, as well as potentially larger scale, ongoing project relationships.

Personally, I like my API consulting just like my APIs, small, and doing one thing well. I don’t like consulting contracts that try to do too much. I also like getting paid in chunks that can usually be put on the corporate credit card, and avoid too much purchase order, vendor system, 30, 60, and 90 day wrangling–or worse, not getting paid at all. You’ll hear me beating the micro consulting, and micro procurement drum a lot more in coming months. I’m going to be working to educate more government agencies, and even the enterprise of the potential when it comes to API related content creation, storytelling, training, and research. I’m predicting it will have the same effect as APIs are having on how companies, organizations, institutions, and government agencies are doing business in the digital economy.