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Subject: Agile Adoption in Government

Five Perspectives on Scaling Agile

Five Perspectives on Scaling Agile

• SEI Blog
Will Hayes

The prevalence of Agile methods in the software industry today is obvious. All major defense contractors in the market can tell you about their approaches to implementing the values and principles found in the Agile Manifesto. Published frameworks and methodologies are rapidly maturing, and a wave of associated terminology is part of the modern lexicon. We are seeing consultants feuding on Internet forums as well, with each one claiming to have the "true" answer for...

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Helping Large Government Programs Adopt and Adapt to Agile Methods

Helping Large Government Programs Adopt and Adapt to Agile Methods

• SEI Blog
Harry Levinson

The mix of program-scale Agile and technical baseline ownership drives cheaper, better, and faster deployment of software-intensive systems. Although these practices aren't new, the SEI has seen how their combination can have dramatic effects. The Air Force Distributed Common Ground System (AF DCGS)--the Air Force's primary weapon system for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, planning, direction, collection, processing, exploitation, analysis, and dissemination--employs a global communications architecture that connects multiple intelligence platforms and sensors. The AF DCGS challenge...

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Is Your Organization Ready for Agile? - Part 7

Is Your Organization Ready for Agile? - Part 7

• SEI Blog
Suzanne Miller

This blog post is the seventh and final installment in a series on Agile adoption in regulated settings, such as the Department of Defense, Internal Revenue Service, and Food and Drug Administration. Organizations and federal agencies seeking to adopt Agile often struggle because they do not understand the adoption risks involved when contemplating the use of Agile approaches. This ongoing series on Readiness and Fit Analysis (RFA) focuses on helping federal agencies, such as the...

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Agile Project Management for Information Security Continuous Monitoring Response

Agile Project Management for Information Security Continuous Monitoring Response

• SEI Blog
Doug Gray

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Information Security Continuous Monitoring (ISCM) is a process for continuously analyzing, reporting, and responding to risks to operational resilience (in an automated manner, whenever possible). Compared to the traditional method of collecting and assessing risks at longer intervals--for instance, monthly or annually--ISCM promises to provide near-real-time situational awareness of an organization's risk profile. ISCM creates challenges as well as benefits, however, because the velocity of...

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10 Recommended Practices for Achieving Agile at Scale

10 Recommended Practices for Achieving Agile at Scale

• SEI Blog
SPRUCE Project

This is the second installment of two blog posts highlighting recommended practices for achieving Agile at Scale that was originally published on the Cyber Security & Information Systems Information Analysis Center (CSIAC) website. The first post in the series by Ipek Ozkaya and Robert Nord explored challenges to achieving Agile at Scale and presented the first five recommended practices: 1. Team coordination2. Architectural runway3. Align development and decomposition.4. Quality-attribute scenarios5. Test-driven developmentThis post presents the...

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10 Recommended Practices for Achieving Agile at Scale

10 Recommended Practices for Achieving Agile at Scale

• SEI Blog
SPRUCE Project

This post is the first in a two-part series highlighting 10 recommended practices for achieving agile at scale. Software and acquisition professionals often have questions about recommended practices related to modern software development methods, techniques, and tools, such as how to apply agile methods in government acquisition frameworks, systematic verification and validation of safety-critical systems, and operational risk management. In the Department of Defense (DoD), these techniques are just a few of the options available...

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Applying the 12 Agile Principles in the Department of Defense

Applying the 12 Agile Principles in the Department of Defense

• SEI Blog
Suzanne Miller

In 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....

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Is Your Organization Ready for Agile? - Part 6

Is Your Organization Ready for Agile? - Part 6

• SEI Blog
Suzanne Miller

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. "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...

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Agile Software Teams: How they Engage with Systems Engineering on Department of Defense Acquisition Programs

Agile Software Teams: How they Engage with Systems Engineering on Department of Defense Acquisition Programs

• SEI Blog
Eileen Wrubel

Tension and disconnects between software and systems engineering functions are not new. Grady Campbell wrote in 2004 that "systems engineering and software engineering need to overcome a conceptual incompatibility (physical versus informational views of a system)" and that systems engineering decisions can create or contribute to software risk if they "prematurely over-constrain software engineering choices" or "inadequately communicate information, including unknowns and uncertainties, needed for effective software engineering." This tension holds true for Department of...

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Agile Metrics: Seven Categories

Agile Metrics: Seven Categories

• SEI Blog
Will Hayes

More and more, suppliers of software-reliant Department of Defense (DoD) systems are moving away from traditional waterfall development practices in favor of agile methods. As described in previous posts on this blog, agile methods are effective for shortening delivery cycles and managing costs. If the benefits of agile are to be realized effectively for the DoD, however, personnel responsible for overseeing software acquisitions must be fluent in metrics used to monitor these programs. This blog...

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Is Your Organization Ready for Agile? - Part 5

Is Your Organization Ready for Agile? - Part 5

• SEI Blog
Suzanne Miller

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

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Is Your Organization Ready for Agile? - Part 4

Is Your Organization Ready for Agile? - Part 4

• SEI Blog
Suzanne Miller

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

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Agile and Architecture Practices for Rapid Delivery

Agile and Architecture Practices for Rapid Delivery

• SEI Blog
Stephany Bellomo

Agile projects with incremental development lifecycles are showing greater promise in enabling organizations to rapidly field software compared to waterfall projects. There is a lack of clarity, however, regarding the factors that constitute and contribute to success of Agile projects. A team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute, including Ipek Ozkaya, Robert Nord, and myself, interviewed project teams with incremental development lifecycles from five government and commercial organizations. This blog posting summarizes...

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Is Your Organization Ready for Agile? - Part 3

Is Your Organization Ready for Agile? - Part 3

• SEI Blog
Suzanne Miller

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

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Is Your Organization Ready for Agile? - Part 2

Is Your Organization Ready for Agile? - Part 2

• SEI Blog
Suzanne Miller

This blog post is the second in a series on Agile adoption in regulated settings, such as the Department of Defense, Internal Revenue Service, and Food and Drug Administration. The adoption of new practices, such as agile or any new practice for that matter, is a task that is best undertaken with both eyes open. There are often disconnects between the adopting organization's current practice and culture and the new practices being adopted. This posting...

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Is Your Organization Ready for Agile? - Part 1

Is Your Organization Ready for Agile? - Part 1

• SEI Blog
Suzanne Miller

This blog post is the first in a series on Agile adoption in regulated settings, such as the Department of Defense, Internal Revenue Service, and Food and Drug Administration. All software engineering and management practices are based on cultural and social assumptions. When adopting new practices, leaders often find mismatches between those assumptions and the realities within their organizations. The SEI has an analysis method called Readiness and Fit Analysis (RFA) that allows the profiling...

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Balancing Agility and Discipline at Scale

Balancing Agility and Discipline at Scale

• SEI Blog
Douglas C. Schmidt

While agile methods have become popular in commercial software development organizations, the engineering disciplines needed to apply agility to mission-critical, software-reliant systems are not as well defined or practiced. To help bridge this gap, the SEI recently hosted the Agile Research Forum. The event brought together researchers and practitioners from around the world to discuss when and how to best apply agile methods in mission-critical environments found in government and many industries....

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Agile Methods: Tools, Techniques, and Practices for the DoD Community

Agile Methods: Tools, Techniques, and Practices for the DoD Community

• SEI Blog
Douglas C. Schmidt

While agile methods have become popular in commercial software development organizations, the engineering disciplines needed to apply agility to mission-critical, software-reliant systems are not as well defined or practiced. To help bridge this gap, the SEI recently hosted the Agile Research Forum, which brought together researchers and practitioners from around the world to discuss when and how to best apply agile methods in mission-critical environments found in government and many industries. This blog posting, the...

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Using Agile Effectively in DoD Environments

Using Agile Effectively in DoD Environments

• SEI Blog
Mary Ann Lapham

Over the past several years, the SEI has explored the use of Agile methods in DoD environments, focusing on both if and when they are suitable and how to use them most effectively when they are suitable. Our research has approached the topic of Agile methods both from an acquisition and a technical perspective. Stephany Bellomo described some of our experiences in previous blog posts What is Agile? and Building a Foundation for Agile. This...

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Building a Foundation for Agile (To Enable Rapid Change)

Building a Foundation for Agile (To Enable Rapid Change)

• SEI Blog
Stephany Bellomo

This is a second in a series of posts focusing on Agile software development. In the first post, "What is Agile?" we provided a short overview of the key elements of the Agile approach, and we introduced the Agile Manifesto. One of the guiding principles from the manifesto emphasizes valuing people over developing processes. While the manifesto clearly alludes to the fact that too much focus on process (and not results) can be a bad...

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 What is Agile?

What is Agile?

• SEI Blog
Stephany Bellomo

If you ask the question, "What is Agile?" you are likely to get lots of different answers. That's because there is no universally accepted formal definition for Agile. To make matters worse, there are ongoing debates over what Agile software development SHOULD mean. That being the case, when answering the question, "What is Agile?" the safest bet is to stick to what people can agree on, and people generally agree on three key elements of...

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