A Guild formally recognizes a strong need by 18F for a specific skillset that benefits from additional attention and leadership.

A guild is a cross-functional/horizontal team. Most people self-select as members of the guild, but a guild may require project teams identify a guild-liason or augment the team with a guild member to support the team or, sometimes, ensure compliance with legal requirements or established practices.

Each Guild must draft a charter, which must include goals and measures, to which they hold each other accountable, and may include objectives and milestones they are working toward. Guild leads are accountable for hitting milestones, making progress toward goals, including taking steps to measure progress. The guild may establish requirements for project teams; however, those requirements must clearly contribute to project success or legal requirements, and the guild must support the project team in meeting those requirements.

Guild leaders have a responsibility to make sure we, 18F, are strong in the guild area of expertise.
If we are, then the guild can provide passive resources and be responsible for periodic evaluation or other measures to monitor the strength of the team. If needed, guild leaders must carve out enough time to ensure that the guild provide appropriate resources for the team, which may involve requesting additional people to devote dedicated time for specific projects or activities that are needed to support the work of the guild.


Guilds can come into existence via one of two avenues: Leadership can request that a team member lead a particular guild; or a self-organized working group can petition leadership to acquire guild status.

Anyone may join a guild as a member at any time, although guild leaders will be chosen based on their experience both inside and outside of 18F, and their demonstrated ability with the guild area of focus.

If you think a working group has reached a point at which it should become a guild, email the senior leadership team with a short explanation why, as well as who you think would be a good choice of guild leader(s). The senior leadership team will review the working group’s work, and make a formal announcement if the guild is created.

Sponsorship and Accountability

All guilds will have a sponsor on the leadership team. The sponsor is not responsible for setting the objectives for a guild, but will check in to ensure a guild is holding itself accountable to its goals.

Guild sponsors will convene one meeting each quarter to evaluate guild progress. Based on the outcome of this meeting, the sponsor may recommend spinning down a guild or revoke sponsorship altogether. If a guild has its sponsorship revoked, its charter may need to be revised to remove project team requirements and may lose dedicated resources; however, it may continue to operate as a working group.

Privileges and Responsibilities

Sponsorship implies that guilds have a voice in discussions amongst the 18F leadership team. This in turn implies that guilds may more easily influence the objectives of the broader team than working groups. Collaboration with the guild sponsor allows for aligning guild objectives with 18F organizational priorities.

Guild responsibilities include:

  • Establish a Charter
  • Develop standards and/or best practices for work pertaining to the guild's domain
  • Help others outside the guild gain experience and understanding of the guild's domain
  • Develop measurable outcomes
  • As needed, define and work toward milestones, artifacts, and deliverables
  • Provide a model that will set a baseline and standards for the entire organization
  • Create a way to validate how projects are doing with regard to the guild area of expertise that provides clear benefit to the project while minimizing disruption