search menu icon-carat-right cmu-wordmark

Helping Government Realize the Agile Advantage

Created December 2017

“Software is military capability and strategic advantage,” Eileen Wrubel (technical lead of the SEI’s Agile in Government Team) is fond of saying. “In an ever-changing world, our operators must be able to access trusted new capabilities faster than ever before.”

The Big Question: Can Government Succeed with a New Strategy?

In 2009, when our Agile in Government team first began exploring the technical feasibility of applying Agile software development approaches within DoD acquisition programs, it was by no means clear it would be successful. Agile would have to be applied in a complex legal, regulatory, and policy framework of federal rules and procedures.

The biggest hurdles facing government organizations applying Agile include learning and using new terminology, applying unfamiliar processes and procedures, and establishing collaborative acquisition cultures.

Growing Collaborations

Since 2016, we have expanded our Agile-related activities by collaborating with our Secure DevOps experts to apply Agile, Lean, and DevOps principles in innovative ways across the acquisition lifecycle in every branch of the DoD and the intelligence community.

The team continues to deploy a growing series of webinars, podcasts, and publications that help practitioners across the DoD transform their acquisition programs with Agile approaches, including Suzanne Miller’s popular webinar, Practical Considerations in Adopting Agile/Lean in Government Settings. In the last two years, more than 1,500 DoD and government personnel have been trained via the team’s suite of instructional offerings.

By leveraging its ongoing relationships with the DoD acquisition community—as well as an extensive network of collaborators across academia, industry, federal civil agencies, and other FFRDCs—we have developed a wealth of resources to help the DoD and federal agencies make informed decisions about using Agile and lean approaches in achieving their goals for speed, adaptability, and efficiency.

Helping Government Realize the Agile Advantage Collaborators

Measured but Exciting Growth

Today, we help acquisition professionals in the DoD and federal agencies interact effectively with software engineering organizations using modern software development practices, design acquisition strategies, and effective engagements with stakeholders to adapt processes and practices. Many programs across the DoD and federal government are now realizing benefits from using these approaches, including early defect detection, cost avoidance, improved software quality, and improved communication among operational users, acquirers, and software developers about software and system requirements.

In July 2016, the SEI’s Will Hayes testified at the request of the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee to discuss the role that Agile approaches could play in the Social Security Administration’s modernization initiatives.

Learn More

Applying the Principles of Agile to Strengthen the Federal Cyber Workforce

October 27, 2022 Webcast
Josh Hammerstein

In this webcast, Josh Hammerstein discusses how to use principles and concepts from Agile development to help cyber workforce development initiatives remain...


Saying Why: Persona-Based Metrics With User Stories

August 29, 2022 Blog Post
Will Hayes, Patrick R. Place

This post discusses how to reframe metrics as user stories to improve their relevance and...


Adapting Agile and DevSecOps to Improve Non-Software Development Teams

July 12, 2022 Webcast
Lyndsi A. Hughes, David Sweeney

In this webcast, Lyndsi Hughes and David Sweeney share their experiences applying Agile and DevSecOps practices in atypical...


Panel Session: Evolving Threat Modeling for Agility and Business Value with DevSecOps

December 16, 2021 Presentation
Hasan Yasar

This threat modeling panel session took place virtually at DevSecOps Days Washington D.C. 2021 on December 16, 2021....


Agile Strategic Planning: Concepts and Methods for Success

September 09, 2021 Podcast
Linda Parker Gates, Suzanne Miller

Linda Parker Gates, initiative lead, Software Acquisition Pathways, and Suzanne Miller, principal researcher in the SEI's Software Solutions Division, discuss the principles of Agile strategic planning and methods for success....

learn more

Agile Metrics: Assessing Progress to Plans

July 19, 2021 Blog Post
Will Hayes, Patrick R. Place, Keith Korzec

The role of metrics in a government program’s assessment of progress in an iterative, incremental delivery of a...


Agile Virtual Schoolhouse

November 04, 2020 Presentation
Suzanne Miller, Will Hayes

This presentation provides a primer on a virtual training channel for Agile use in government...


Agile in Government: Go for Insight, Not Just Oversight

July 16, 2020 Webcast
Suzanne Miller

This webcast provided practical insights into how a Government Program Office can productively engage with a contractor using Agile and Lean methods....