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.
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.
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.
March 23, 2017 Presentation
The SEI team working with Agile in government has built a rich narrative of Agile implementation experiences and now works with an extensive network of collaborators on fundamental research questions that dive deep into cause-and-effect mechanisms.read