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Centers of Excellence - Engagement Lead

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Please see our other open positions.

Centers of Excellence (CoE) is hiring for GS-15 - Engagement Lead. This page contains information related to the role as well as a link to submit your application. Check out Join TTS Hiring Process to learn more about the application process.

Location: Washington, DC

Salary Range: The salary range for this position is: GS-15 Step 1 - $142,701 to GS-15 Step 10 $170,800

Please note the maximum salary available for the GS pay system is $170,800

You can find more information about this in the compensation and benefits section on our site.

Who May Apply: All United States citizens and nationals (residents of American Samoa and Swains Islands) and applicants must not be GSA employees or contractors

Role Summary:

Engagement Lead - GS-15

The Centers of Excellence (CoE) work directly with customer agencies to identify their needs, recommend solutions, and implementat modernization solutions. The CoE works with industry partners on the discovery and implementation of projects designed to improve services to citizens as well as build capabilities within the partner agency. Each CoE is staffed with leads who provide authoritative advice, experienced mentorship, and IT transformation services to improve service design and customer interactions across major organizational and federal government lines. Each individual CoE focuses on an area of expertise - cloud adoption, IT infrastructure optimization, customer experience, contact centers and artificial intelligence/data analytics. The number and mix of centers deployed varies by agency engagement.

As an Engagement Lead, you’ll serve as the central point of contact for the partner agency and its leadership which may include the CIO, Deputy CIO, Deputy Secretary, and CFO. For a complex engagement, you will also serve as a project manager to coordinate the multi-functional team of expert leads plus critical practices such engagement-specific procurement, change management, strategic communications, and performance management for that partner agency. In addition, you will join the broader Technology Transformation Services team, which includes more than 300 people. If you believe the government can better serve the public through citizen-focused IT modernization, we hope you’ll join us.

Key Objectives

Key objective #1: Ensure inordinately high-quality, high-impact work

  • Project manage the combined work of the CoEs at the partner agency engagement, presenting a unified view of the collective work to that partner agency.
  • Ensure CoE projects align with the agency’s strategic plan, current organizational priorities, and cultural/communications imperatives of the agency.
  • Practice risk management and risk mitigation that protect the partner agency as well as the CoE, TTS and GSA.
  • Lead performance management for the engagement, working with the team to set goals and targets then track progress and results
  • Assume responsibility for tracking all milestones and action items to completion, using existing tools and proposing the implementation of new processes when necessary.
  • Promote technical excellence and adherence to customer experience practices in each engagement.
  • Collect feedback to discuss successes and challenges, and share patterns and key feedback with C-Suite executives as appropriate.
  • Facilitate and support the sharing of knowledge, tools, and assets across the CoE’s
  • Assist the CoE engagement teams by removing barriers, troubleshooting obstacles, ensuring access to the people and resources they need, and generally making it easier for the teams to work productively.
  • Oversee acquisition activity for the engagement providing information to the partner agency, guidance to the engagement team, and coordination with the acquisition team
  • Manage the financial health of the engagement, maximizing value or return on investment.

Key objective #2: Provide an extraordinary customer experience.

  • Coordinate a strong overall customer (agency/department) transformation vision and develop an effective strategy for fulfilling that vision.
  • Use empathy and interpersonal skills to quickly build trust with partners.
  • Translate or ensure that the teams translate technical information into non-technical language and visuals.
  • Express empathy through the long compliance and security processes.
  • Serve as an intermediary between the clients and the team when needed: Provide client feedback to the team, enabling the team to make necessary changes to project performance or presentation.
  • Help partners and their leadership understand the value of agile-based program, project, and product management, user-centered design, continuous integration, and working in the open.
  • Serve as a coach to agency partners new to CoE practices, such as agile thinking, cloud adoption, automation, or assisted acquisition.
  • Actively monitor the customer experience both qualitatively and quantitatively, taking action when needed to improve the experience in the near term or throughout the engagement period.
  • Manage expectations, continuously reiterated goals, objectives, targets, values, operating principles, etc.

Key objective #3: Promote modernization, from IT modernization to adoption of design practices to shifts in work culture

  • Explore and document needs within the partner agency that are not part of the current scope.
  • Assess the change readiness of the agency partner, identifying areas that can help and hinder adoption of IT modernization projects and improvements in how the organization works.
  • Share observations and insights with the strategy group as well as with the agency partner.
  • Promote the use of human centered design, agile thinking, employee engagement practices, and other shifts likely to evolve work practices and performance
  • Participate in business development work with CoE and TTS.
  • Serve as the liaison for strategic communications relevant to the engagement.
  • Generate content - including measurements, quotes, and stories - that speak to the work, progress, and results of the engagement.
  • Serve as the spokesperson or moderator for internal or external speaking engagements relative to the engagement.

Basic Information

Location: Washington, DC

Salary Range: Base salary GS-15 - $142,701 to $170,800

If you are a new federal employee, your starting salary will likely be set at the Step 1 of the grade for which you are selected. Total compensation may include locality pay based on the individual’s duty location. For more salary information including locality pay details, please visit OPM’s Salaries & Wages page.

Who May Apply: All United States citizens and nationals (residents of American Samoa and Swains Islands) and applicants must not be GSA employees or contractors

Job announcement number: TBD

Opening and closing period for this job application: tbd EDT to tbd EDT

Job Title: Innovation Specialist

Series & Grade: 0301 - 15

Promotion Potential: GS-15

Number of vacancies: 1 (Additional vacancies may be filled from this announcement as needed)

Supervisory status: NO

Travel requirement: Occasional travel may be required up to 10%-20% per year

Security clearance: Public trust. Background investigation required.

Work Schedule: Full time

Appointment Type: Excepted Service: Not to exceed 24 months (2 years); may be extended for an additional 2 years for a maximum of 4 years total.

Job Summary

This is a Schedule A position under 5 CFR 213.3102(r) to hire unique technical skills to develop innovative digital tools and services in the Excepted Services, US Digital Service 18F Fellowship Program. The 18F office is charged with developing innovative digital tools and services and uses lean startup and agile development principles to collaborate with other agencies to fix technical problems, build products, and improve how government serves the public through technology.

As an Innovation Specialist, the team member serves the government and makes an impact on a massive scale. The position requires that fellows perform work of an exceptional degree of difficulty across a wide range of topics at the convergence of technology, policy, and delivery. The incumbent leverages their experience deploying high quality, user centric platforms and services to lead major initiatives, consult on systems and policy proposal, and provide technical, policy, and programmatic guidance to government.

This position is located within the General Services Administration (GSA), Federal Acquisition Service (FAS), Technology Transformation Service (TTS), Office of Clients & Markets, CoE Division.

GSA has been repeatedly named as one of the ‘Best Places to Work’ in the federal government. You will have access to many benefits including:

  • Health insurance (choose from a wide range of plans)
  • Life insurance coverage with several options
  • Sick leave and vacation time, including 10 paid holidays per year
  • Thrift Savings Plan (similar to a 401(k) plan)
  • Flexible work schedules and telework
  • Transit and child care subsidies
  • Training and development
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Training and development

Key Requirements

  1. You must be a U.S. Citizen or National (residents of American Samoa and Swains Islands)
  2. Suitable for federal employment, determined by a background investigation
  3. You may be required to serve a trial period
  4. Direct Deposit of salary check to financial organization required
  5. Register with Selective Service, if you are required by

Employment Requirements

  • Serve a one year trial period, if required
  • Undergo and pass a background investigation. You must be granted this clearance before you can start the job
  • Have your identity and work status eligibility verified if you are not a GSA employee. We will use the Department of Homeland Security’s e-Verify system for this
  • Any discrepancies must be resolved as a condition of continued employment
  • Complete a financial disclosure report to verify that no conflict, or an appearance of conflict, exists between your financial interest and this position


Typical duties for the fellow include but are not limited to: Conceiving/recommending projects/studies to advance the state of the art in the specialty area; applying forward­ thinking design and development principles to product or services development, delivery and program management, such as lean startup, user­centered design, and agile development; Analyzing and scoping the technical and policy requirements needed to implement complex digital solutions; Assessing the state of digital services provided by the Federal Government, and working to align strategies and practice; conferring with key government/private officials and top experts in the field, representing the agency at technical symposia and/or conferences; Developing authoritative papers/reports; developing and leading adoption of government­wide standards for digital services, leading to their adoption across citizen and business­facing government services; Demonstrating thought leadership and contributing best practices in a variety of technologies and principles; Contributing to a talent strategy that includes recruiting innovators and entrepreneurs to participate in solving complex and esoteric challenges.


We will use a method called Category Rating to assess your application.

Here’s how it will work:

You will be scored based on a review of your application materials, measuring your possession of each of the following competencies

  • Program Management: Ability to develop and execute a program’s strategy and objectives to meet or exceed desired business results.
  • Leadership: Ability to effectively inspire and lead cross-functional teams to meet the project vision and shared objectives of agency partner organizations, while simultaneously providing support and guidance to all members of the partner agency.
  • Agile Orientation: Ability to apply agile and open source philosophies to deliver work in a frequent and iterative fashion to address user needs.
  • Communication: Communicate effectively with a variety of audiences, particularly in consulting scenarios, to establish a shared vision and understanding of a project’s technical implementation, objectives and goals.
  • TTS Core Values Alignment: Working with integrity, transparency and resiliency in civic minded or high impact environment.

If found to be eligible and at least minimally qualified for the position, your score will be used to place you in a category (Best Qualified, Well Qualified, or Qualified).

If your resume does not support your possession of the competencies listed above, we may lower your score, which could place you in a lower category.

Within each category, veterans will receive selection priority over non-veterans if supported by appropriate documentation.


All applications will be reviewed by a panel of subject matter experts against a scoring rubric created for this role. In order to properly be able to evaluate your previous experience, we recommend being as detailed as possible in your resume and following our general guidance on creating federal style resume.

To qualify for this role, you must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-14 in the Federal service. Specialized experience is:

Experience leading enterprise transformation and modernization projects, including the research, design, development or delivery of digital products or services. This experience must include ALL of the following:

  1. Ensuring inordinately high-quality, high-impact work.
    • Managing complex projects, including project management, risk management, performance management, financial management, and team management.
    • Coordinating acquisition and contract management activities, such as preparing statements of work and estimates.
    • Managing change efforts, including organizational assessment, relationship-building, delegation, removing, mitigating, or navigating obstacles, and internal communication.
  2. Providing an extraordinary customer experience.
    • Providing customer experience for senior management, including managing expectations, communicating about risks, progress, and conflicts, and serving as a trusted advisor.
    • Generating agreement on shared goals and expectations, including adoption of methods and practices as part of the engagement and the interdependencies of workstreams.
  3. Promoting modernization, from IT modernization to adoption of design practices to shifts in work culture
    • Generating interest in modernization opportunities, including influencing decision-making, cost-benefit or return-on-investment analysis, and defining value or benefits.

Qualification determinations cannot be made when resumes do not include the required information, so failure to provide this information may result in disqualification.

For each job on your resume, provide:

  • the exact dates you held each job (from month/year to month/year or “present”)
  • number of hours per week you worked (if part time)

How To Apply

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