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Since I briefed the Coordinating Task Force at the Pentagon on how to report back to the Congress on progess, we've talked a lot about how the US Department of Defense (DoD) is going Agile. We've also shared some ideas on how to do it from SEI. Here is some real concrete guidance about how to do it from the DoD.
We've also been corresponding with four-star General Barry McCaffrey, my former classmate at West Point. He was very clear in his comments on our new book, Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time.
“Scrum is mandatory reading for any leader, whether they’re leading troops on the battlefield or in the marketplace. The challenges of today’s world don’t permit the luxury of slow, inefficient work. Success requires tremendous speed, enormous productivity, and an unwavering commitment to achieving results. In other words success requires Scrum.”
In the process of writing our online course Agile Defense we read with great interest the Interim DoD Instruction 5000.02. This document shows at least one way the DoD is thinking about doing, Agile development in software.

Here are their two models of software acquisition. The first reflects a certain amount of waterfall thinking:

"Figure 4 is a model of a program that is dominated by the need to develop a complex, usually defense unique, software program that will not be deployed until several software builds have been completed. The central feature of this model is the planned software builds – a series of testable, integrated subsets of the overall capability – which together with clearly defined decision criteria, ensure adequate progress is being made before fully committing to subsequent builds."

Here's a new, more Agile model of deployment:

"This model is distinguished from the previous model by the rapid delivery of capability through several limited fieldings in lieu of single Milestones B and C and a single full deployment. Each limited fielding results from a specific build, and provides the user with mature and tested sub-elements of the overall capability. Several builds and fieldings will typically be necessary to satisfy approved requirements for an increment of capability. The identification and development of technical solutions necessary for follow-on capabilities have some degree of concurrency, allowing subsequent increments to be initiated and executed more rapidly."

The new model moves the DOD closer to the second value in the Agile Manifesto - working product over comprehensive documentation. They may not meet the Agile Manifesto principle of delivering product increments in a few weeks to a few months. Yet it is a definite step forward.

At the Pentagon I emphasized that DOD purchasing should require "Change for Free" in all their contracts as it could save them hundreds of billions of dollar a year. The F-35 contract alone is $143B dollars over budget mainly due to software testing!

Sign up for our online course next Wednesday from 11-12 for more on how Scrum, Agile, and the military work together.