Entries by 'Suzanne Miller'

Applying the 12 Agile Principles in the Department of Defense

Agile 2 Comments »

By Suzanne Miller
Principal Researcher
Software Solutions Division

Suzanne MillerIn 2010, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a 25-point plan to reform IT that called on federal agencies to employ “shorter delivery time frames, an approach consistent with Agile” when developing or acquiring IT. OMB data suggested Agile practices could help federal agencies and other organizations design and acquire software more effectively, but agencies needed to understand the risks involved in adopting these practices. Two years later, OMB directed agencies to consider Agile development in its 2012 contracting guidance. As organizations work to become more agile, they can employ the 12 principles outlined in the Agile Manifesto to assess progress. I work with a team of researchers at the SEI who explore the barriers and enablers to applying Agile in government settings. We have found that each of these principles plays out differently in the federal landscape. While some principles are a natural fit, others are harder to implement. This blog post introduces a series of discussions recorded as podcasts about the application (and challenges) of the 12 Agile principles across the Department of Defense (DoD).

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Is Your Organization Ready for Agile?

Agile , Readiness & Fit Analysis 3 Comments »

By Suzanne Miller
Principal Researcher
Software Solutions Division

This blog post is the sixth in a series on Agile adoption in regulated settings, such as the Department of Defense, Internal Revenue Service, and Food and Drug Administration.

Suzanne Miller "Across the government, we’ve decreased the time it takes across our high-impact investments to deliver functionality by 20 days over the past year alone. That is a big indicator that agencies across the board are adopting agile or agile-like practices," Lisa Schlosser, acting federal chief information officer, said in a November 2014 interview with Federal News Radio. Schlosser based her remarks on data collected by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) over the last year. In 2010, the OMB issued guidance calling on federal agencies to employ “shorter delivery time frames, an approach consistent with Agile” when developing or acquiring IT. As evidenced by the OMB data, Agile practices can help federal agencies and other organizations design and acquire software more effectively, but they need to understand the risks involved when contemplating the use of Agile. This ongoing series on Readiness & Fit Analysis (RFA) focuses on helping federal agencies and other organizations in regulated settings understand the risks involved when contemplating or embarking on a new approach to developing or acquiring software. Specifically, this blog post, the sixth in a series, explores issues related to system attributes organizations should consider when adopting Agile.

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Is Your Organization Ready for Agile?

Agile , Readiness & Fit Analysis 1 Comment »

By Suzanne Miller 
Principal Researcher
Software Solutions Division

This blog post is the fifth in a series on Agile adoption. 

Suzanne Miller Federal agencies depend on IT to support their missions and spent at least $76 billion on IT in fiscal year 2011, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The catalyst for the study was congressional concern over prior IT expenditures that produced disappointing results, including multimillion dollar cost overruns and schedule delays measured in years, with questionable mission-related achievements. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in 2010 issued guidance that advocates federal agencies employ “shorter delivery time frames, an approach consistent with Agile.” This ongoing series on the Readiness & Fit Analysis (RFA) approach focuses on helping federal agencies and other organizations understand the risks involved when contemplating or embarking on the adoption of new practices, such as Agile methods. This blog posting, the fifth in this series, explores the Practices category, which helps organizations understand which Agile practices are already in use to formulate a more effective adoption strategy.

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Is Your Organization Ready for Agile?

Agile , Readiness & Fit Analysis 4 Comments »

Fourth Installment in a Series
By Suzanne Miller
Principal Researcher
Software Solutions Division

Suzanne MillerGovernment agencies, including the departments of Defense, Veteran Affairs, and Treasury, are being asked by their government program office to adopt Agile methods. These are organizations that have traditionally utilized a “waterfall” life cycle model (as epitomized by the engineering “V” charts). Programming teams in these organizations are accustomed to being managed via a series of document-centric technical reviews that focus on the evolution of the artifacts that describe the requirements and design of the system rather than its evolving implementation, as is more common with Agile methods. Due to these changes, many struggle to adopt Agile practices. For example, acquisition staff often wonder how to fit Agile measurement practices into their progress tracking systems. They also find it hard to prepare for technical reviews that don’t account for both implementation artifacts and the availability of requirements/design artifacts. My ongoing series on the Readiness & Fit Analysis (RFA) approach focuses on helping organizations understand the risks involved when contemplating or embarking on the adoption of new practices, in this case Agile methods. This posting explores project and customer environment, one of many challenging factors to assess when considering Agile adoption readiness.

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Is Your Organization Ready for Agile?

Agile , Readiness & Fit Analysis 5 Comments »

Third Installment in a Series on Agile Adoption
By Suzanne Miller
Senior Member of the Technical Staff
Software Solutions Division

Suzanne Miller In our work with the Department of Defense (DoD) and other government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and the  U.S. Department of the Treasury, we often encounter organizations that have been asked by their government program office to adopt agile methods. These are organizations that have traditionally utilized a “waterfall” life cycle model (as epitomized by the engineering “V” charts) and are accustomed to being managed via a series of document-centric technical reviews that focus on the evolution of the artifacts that describe the requirements and design of the system rather than its evolving implementation, as is more common with agile methods. After the program office and contractor are trained, they realize that there is more to an agile approach than frequent, small iterations and daily standup meetings.  As a result, they struggle to adopt agile practices. This post is part of an ongoing series on the Readiness & Fit Analysis (RFA) approach, which helps organizations understand the risks involved when contemplating or embarking on the adoption of new practices, in this case agile methods. This posting continues our exploration of organizational culture, one of the most challenging factors to assess when considering agile adoption readiness.

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