Episode 81

Managing Federal CHAOSS at CMS.gov


12 March 2024

40 mins 25 secs

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About this Episode

Thank you to the folks at Sustain for providing the hosting account for CHAOSSCast!

CHAOSScast – Episode 80

On today’s episode of CHAOSScast, we focus on the experiences and initiatives of the Open Source Program Office at the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Host Dawn Foster is joined by Sean Goggins along with guests, Remy DeCausemaker, Natalia Luzuriaga, Isaac Milarsky, and Aayat Ali, all from various backgrounds within the CMS, who share insights into their efforts in maintaining and promoting an open source culture within federal services. Key discussion points include the launch of the CMS’s first open source program office, the development of a maturity model framework to evaluate open source projects, the creation of tools such as Repo Scaffolder and Duplifier to support open source practices, and efforts towards open source software security. This episode emphasizes the distinct aspects of opens source work in government settings compared to the private sector and highlights upcoming presentations at conferences. Download this episode now to hear more!

[00:02:21] Dawn asks about the team’s work at the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. We start with Remy, who explains the launch of the first open source program office at a federal agency in the U.S. and details CMS’s mission to improve healthcare experience for over 150 million people and the role of the digital service within CMS.

[00:05:36] Natalia discusses the maturity model framework developed to assess the open source maturity level of projects. She describes a “Repo Scaffolder” tool created in collaboration with the U.S. digital response to help projects align with the majority model, and she speaks about additional features for public repositories to aid in development.

[00:10:51] Isaac takes over, explaining how they use Auger metrics and “Nadia labeling” to categorize projects and encourage the adoption of their maturity model. He details a metrics website that provides visual representations of project health and activity and introduces “Duplifier,” a deduplication tool for healthcare data, which uses an open source library called Splink.

[00:15:14] Sean inquires how they actualize their user needs in metrics visualization and about the process that informs the creation of these visual metrics. Isaac addresses front-end design aspects of metric visualization and the importance of making the metrics understandable at a glance. Natalia emphasizing designing for both technical and non-technical stakeholders, ensuring metrics are clear and understandable.

[00:17:44] Aayat discusses her role in strategy development and the creation of a CMS OSPO guide. She emphasizes advocacy withing CMS for open source and plans to conduct workshops and usability testing to determine which metrics are most valuable to stakeholders.

[00:19:23] Remy talks about consulting with the chief information security officer and the chief information officer for internal metric priorities and engaging with an external OSPO metrics working group convened by CHAOSS for broader insights.

[00:20:47] Dawn asks Remy for more details on the differences with government engagement in open source to the corporate environments. Remy describes the early journey of OSPOs at the federal level and contrasts it with his private sector experience.

[00:25:18] Sean asks about what success would look like a year from now for the

OSPO group’s work. Remy acknowledges the limited four-year term for digital service members, emphasizing the urgency to execute and make an impact within the next year. He highlights the transformative impact of Isaac and Natalia’s entrance into the program and the successful shipping of the metrics website, a deduplication tool, and other repositories.

[00:27:50] Isaac envisions success as propagating maturity models and open source standards throughout the government, demonstrating value to stakeholders, and growing the OSPO. Natalia is excited to share their foundational OSPO work and contribute to open data initiatives and mentions speaking this year at the Linux Foundation Open Source Summit and PyCon about their work. Aayat defines success as achieving goals in source code stewardship, understanding the maturity and content of repositories, and supporting the team in communicating the value of open source.

[00:29:53] Remy brings up Nadia Eghbal giving her credit for influential work and mentioning a team book club inspired by her writings.

Value Adds (Picks) of the week:

  • [00:32:39] Dawn’s pick is Beat Saber for indoor workouts.
  • [00:33:05] Sean’s pick is the HBO max show, True Detective, Season 4.
  • [00:33:22] Remy’s pick is the BRAVO Hackathon Series he recently attended.
  • [00:38:14] Natalia’s pick is visiting her local library and getting a library card.
  • [00:38:39] Aayat’s pick is a good book she read called, “Demon Copperhead.”
  • [00:39:36] Isaac’s pick is enjoying the nice weather and getting outside.


Dawn Foster

Sean Goggins


Remy DeCausemaker

Natalia Luzuriaga

Isaac Milarsky

Aayat Ali



CHAOSS Project X/Twitter

CHAOSScast Podcast


Georg Link Website

Dawn Foster X/Twitter

Sean Goggins X/Twitter

Remy DeCausemaker X/Twitter

Remy DeCausemaker LinkedIn

Natalia Luzuriaga LinkedIn

Isaac Milarsky LinkedIn

Aayat Ali LinkedIn

Aayat Ali Website


Digital Service at CMS (DSACMS)-GitHub

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services-GitHub

United States Digital Corps


Repo Scaffolder-GitHub

Metrics Dashboard for CMS Open Source Projects

Repo Metrics Website


The Linux Foundation Open Source Summit-April 16-18, 2024, Seattle, WA

PyCon US-May 15-23, 2024-Pittsburgh, PA

Nadia Asparouhova (aka Nadia Eghbal) Website

Working in Public: The Making and Maintenance of Open Source Software by Nadia Eghbal

Roads and Bridges: The Unseen Labor Behind Our Digital Infrastructure by Nadia Eghbal

CHAOSScast Podcast-Episode 77: Open Source Metrics at Microsoft

Beat Saber

True Detective-Season 4 (HBO max)

BRAVO Hackathon Series

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver

Support CHAOSScast