With waterfall failure after failure, even the government has decided to make Agile development a priority. Some people have a hard time believing this but I just want to take you through what happened in one department, the biggest one there is, the Department of Defense. Back in 2009 someone inserted this section into the 2010 Defense Acquisition Bill. These are the rules that the Department must
follow when purchasing anything. Here’s the relevant section 804: IMPLEMENTATION OF NEW ACQUISITION PROCESS FOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS.
The key language is this:
(2) be designed to include—
(A) early and continual involvement of the user;
(B) multiple, rapidly executed increments or releases of capability;
(C) early, successive prototyping to support an evolutionary approach; and
(D) a modular, open-systems approach.
The language here certainly sounds Agile to me:
• Deliver Early and Often: Thisprincipleis aimedatchangingtheculturefromonethat isfocusedtypicallyonasingledeliverytoanewmodelthatcomprisesmultiple deliveriestoestablishanenvironmentthatsupportsdeployedcapabilitiesevery12to18 months.
• Incremental and Iterative Development and Testing: Thisprincipleembracesthe conceptthatincrementalanditerativedevelopmentandtesting,includingtheuseof prototyping,yieldbetteroutcomesthantryingtodeploylargecomplexITnetwork systemsinone"BigBang."
• Rationalized Requirements: Userinvolvementiscriticaltotheultimatesuccessofany IT implementation,anduserneedsmustbemet.However,thisprinciplealsorecognizes theneedforusersandrequirementsdeveloperstoembraceanenterprisefocusacrossa portfolioofcapabilitieswithestablishedstandardsandopenmodularplatformsvice customizedsolutionstoensureinteroperabilityandseamlessintegration.
• Flexible/Tailored Processes: TheDepartment'sITneedsrangefrommodernizing nuclearcommandandcontrolsystemstoupdatingwordprocessingsystemsonoffice computers.Thisprincipleacknowledges uniquetypesofITacquisitionandembraces flexibleandtailored-andrisk-appropriate-ITpathsbasedonthecharacteristicsofthe proposedITacquisition.
And while I don’t know exactly how Agile the DOD has become, this is the language their CIO is using on their modernization plans
The DoD CIO's 10 Point Plan for IT Modernization targets the most pressing, near-term challenges and presents approaches to efficiently and effectively deliver agile, secure, integrated, and responsive IT capabilities. This plan will enable the DoD to reduce costs and deliver faster, more responsive capabilities, while improving interoperability, user satisfaction, cyber security, and, ultimately, mission success. The primary goal is to enable agile, secure, efficient and effective IT for DoD.
And if that doesn't convince you, here's an interesting bullet from a slide deck by the White House CIO, Steven VanRoekel on the administrations 2013 IT budget priorities:
Entrepreneurs in Residence
– Introduce and cultivate innovative best practices and technologies into
– Assemble agile teams to solve problems using rapid cycle, lean engineering principles
There are other government agencies that have used Scrum to great effect, I know the FBI used it to rescue their Sentinel program from a complete waterfall failure, and I’m sure there are more. Anyone else know of any?
Also, if anyone knows of anybody who wants to take the next step in their career and get trained as a Scrum Master, there are still a few seats left for my July 26-27 course in Boston.