Becoming Agile with Government Technology Solutions

Agile is an iterative approach to software delivery, building solutions from the onset of a project rather than trying to deliver it near the end. The use of this methodology is built on the need for flexibility and adaptation to changing requirements. It is a response to the reality of building modern technology solutions, software, and processes. As nothing stays static in today's business climate, the way systems are developed had to change.[Tweet "Becoming Agile with Government Technology Solutions. #GovEventsBlog"]

Agile is a departure from the traditional waterfall development practice defined by linear and sequential order. A solution in a waterfall project cannot move forward until the previous step is completed. Once that step is complete, there is no going back to fix or change it - even if business needs require a change. In contrast, Agile-led projects are focused on delivery of smaller pieces of the solution with the understanding that failure is ok and an inevitable part of the process. Since all of the pieces of an application are not as dependent on one another, failure in one area will not break the whole system as it would in a waterfall process.

The adoption of Agile in government has been slow but steady. There are both cultural and procedural barriers to wide adoption of Agile. Procurements must be written differently to enable an Agile approach, and people working on the projects have to be willing to shift their thinking and workflows to accommodate the Agile process. Agencies, tired of long development cycles that result in technology that is out of date by the time it launches, have begun trying out Agile approaches and finding great success. Localities can quickly roll out digital solutions to citizens, systems become more secure, and agencies can meet cloud migration mandates and goals.[Tweet "Agencies tired of long development cycles, have begun trying #Agile approaches with great success. #GovEventsBlog"]

DevOps, another software development approach, is closely tied to Agile. DevOps relies on strong communication between the development team (the people building the technology) and the operations team (the people who will use it). For development to be responsive to operations' continual input, they need to utilize an Agile methodology.

With this shift comes the need for education in these new methodologies. Luckily, on, there are a number of events that will help people new to Agile and DevOps understand and embrace this approach to building technology solutions and systems. [Tweet "A few events that will help people learn more about Agile and DevOps. #GovEventsBlog"]

  • Open Source Developer Week (January 22-26, 2018; webcast series) -- This week-long series includes thought leadership sessions, demos, and more around open source technology and how it is used in key development trends including DevOps, cloud, and security.
  • Agile in Government: Cultural Change (January 26, 2018; Washington, DC) -- A breakfast event that discusses the cultural changes that were made at United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the adoption of modern Agile development practices.
  • ATARC Federal DevOps Summit (March 1, 2018; Washington, DC) -- This seminar takes a look at the DevOps tools and techniques being used by the Federal Government to create an Agile development cycle.
  • Enterprise Architecture Conference and Expo (April 26, 2018; Washington, DC) -- This event looks at the impact of Agile and DevOps approaches to designing system architecture in government environments. This event qualifies for 4 CPEs.
  • FCW Workshop: DevOps: Strategies for Mission-Driven Innovation (May 2, 2018; Washington, DC) -- At this event, FCW focuses on how DevOps can better align an agency's development efforts with its key priorities. With a strong focus on IT modernization/legacy updates, this event provides a detailed look at implementing Agile and DevOps practices. This workshop qualifies for 3 CPEs.
  • Velocity Conferences (June 11-13, 2018; San Jose, CA and September 30 - October 3, 2018; New York, NY) -- These conferences are designed to help system architects, application developers, performance engineers, and other IT professionals stay current on the newest software and practices. Commercial and government best practices are shared.
  • Agile 2018 (August 6-10, 2018; San Diego, CA) -- This annual event is dedicated
  • to furthering Agile principles, bringing together new and experienced Agile practitioners to share ideas and experiences. This event typically has a number of sessions focused on government.

We'd love to hear from you. What has your experience been in moving to Agile? Where do you go to get training and input on Agile and DevOps processes?

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