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Agile Collaboration Group Spurs Knowledge Sharing


July 17, 2014—The SEI continues to explore the application of Agile methods in large and complex systems. Agile is an iterative approach to software development that emphasizes collaboration and a lightweight governance framework. It is designed to be cost effective, timely, and adaptable.

For the past several years, the SEI has led research into the appropriateness of applying Agile methods to the development of complex and large-scale software projects, such as those often pursued by the Department of Defense (DoD). From that effort has sprung a series of SEI technical notes on adapting Agile to DoD programs—and the development of the Agile Collaboration Group.

The SEI's Mary Ann Lapham has played a key role as the leader of one branch of the SEI's Agile efforts and is a founder of the group.

The Agile Collaboration Group grew from a handful of like-minded people interested in Agile in 2011. "We had about 15 members in the first year," Lapham said, "growing past 100 in 2013." The group now includes representatives from the DoD, the armed forces, industry, federal agencies, and academia.

The group provides a forum for sharing experience and knowledge about applying Agile in larger programs. By pooling members' Agile experiences and knowledge, the group saves members time and helps shortcut the learning curve for applying Agile methods, Lapham said.

"We're able to provide a map," she added, noting that the Agile Collaboration Group comprises organizations with a range of experience—from those just starting with Agile to those with ongoing experience in using Agile methods daily. 

For the DoD, the SEI's customer for Agile research and development, the Agile Collaboration Group has yielded a continuing stream of unbiased guidance on using Agile methods and has become a resource for "lessons learned" about applying Agile to larger-scale projects. 

To read recent research completed with help from Agile Collaboration Group members, please visit:

This article originally appeared in the 2013 SEI Year in Review.