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Software and Cyber Solutions Symposium Explores Agile and DevOps

Software and Cyber Solutions Symposium Explores Agile and DevOps
• Article

April 16, 2018—Agile and DevOps topped the agenda at the 2018 Software and Cyber Solutions Symposium, hosted by the SEI on March 27 in Arlington, Virginia. The symposium and the accompanying tutorials explored the challenges and realities in acquiring and developing software solutions, with a specific focus on identifying effective practices in Agile and DevOps. The symposium attracted a wide range of attendees from organizations in industry, government, and the Department of Defense.

Victor Gavin, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Information Operations and Space, opened the symposium with the keynote address, “IT Acquisition: The New Team Sport.” In his remarks, Gavin explored how the pace of change in commercial IT is having a dramatic effect on the way the government acquires these capabilities. He noted how this situation is driving the creation of a new partnership with the Navy’s industrial providers that will involve Agile development practices aimed at improving agility, cost, and security.

Other keynote speakers were Dr. Barry Boehm of the University of Southern California, who spoke about Agile cost modeling for the DoD, and Josh Corman, chief security officer and founder of PTC, who highlighted the high consequences of cyber-physical system failures of the past 18 months and the pending legislative and international responses.

The technical agenda included talks and panel discussions on a variety of topics, including the application of modern software development practices in a mission-critical DoD program, challenges to implementing DevOps, and an examination of radically different approaches to IT.

The March 27 technical agenda was bookended on March 26 and March 28 by optional programs of half-day tutorials addressing topics such as

  • DevOps implementation
  • Agile metrics at scale
  • Blockchain and causal learning
  • Addressing cybersecurity risk in an Agile and DevOps environment

The program was well received. One attendee noted that “the workshops offered thorough, but clear explanations for people with little or no experience in Agile/DevOps and software, and the keynotes did a great job of bringing together the acquisition and development communities.” Another attendee appreciated the opportunity to engage with SEI consultants and cross-governmental practitioners. “It was a great opportunity for collaboration and sharing lessons learned. Very, very valuable to have our site lead and SEI people who consult within our workspaces attending at the same time to level-set experience and knowledge.”

“We were gratified by the positive response and feedback that we received from attendees,” said SCSS general chair Bill Pollak of the SEI. “These symposia provide a valuable opportunity for SEI technical staff to interact both formally and informally with SEI customers and external stakeholders about the software challenges that we all face.”

The next SEI Software and Cyber Solutions Symposium will take place on September 12-13, 2018 at Waterford Receptions in Springfield, VA, with a focus on cybersecurity and acquisition. Details will be announced on the SEI website.

Presentations from this year’s symposium and past symposia are available for viewing and download. Visit