Agility has been a key attribute for success over the past year and a half. Everyone had to quickly adapt in their personal and professional lives to do things in new ways to keep business and society running. Even the great bureaucracy of government found itself pivoting and quickly changing "how it's always been done" to meet the needs of the day. This should not end with the return to what feels like pre-pandemic normal. In the form of Agile methodology, Agility will play a huge role in the government's ability to continue the fast-forwarded digital push as a result of the pandemic.
Just as government pushed agencies to try Cloud with the "Cloud First" initiative, some are suggesting the same approach for Agile. An "Agile-First" evolution would have a huge impact on IT modernization efforts, accelerating the move from legacy processes and technology to a modern digital approach. The response to COVID-19 showed that the government can move quickly in changing how they do work (across all areas of government). An Agile-first "mandate" could institutionalize that speed and make it the rule rather than the exception.
IT modernization was hastened by the pandemic, but it was long overdue. Many systems were showing their age prior to 2020. While quick changes were made, agencies need to look back and make sure those changes are sustainable and continue building on them -- a key tenant of Agile.
A DevOps approach embraces the concepts of Agile, combining ongoing feedback between the operational team that will use technology and the development team that is building it. Small, iterative releases ensure that the solution behaves as expected and has the desired impact on the mission. As many of the technologies being deployed will include Artificial Intelligence (AI), there's now a new way to look at applying Agile -- DataOps. Any AI solution will only be as useful as the data -- and the data pipelines -- that power the solution. DataOps aims to improve the quality and reduce the cycle time of realizing value from data analytics.
There are a number of upcoming events and resources that can help agencies navigate the embrace and implementation of agile.
- Embracing DevSecOps: Building Security Into Cloud-Native Developer Workflows (June 30, 2021; webcast) -- Migrating to the cloud increases the efficiency of security and development teams and reduces operational costs and downtime. To keep pace, security in software application development must adapt. Experts will discuss how a well-planned DevSecOps program can help organizations produce applications faster and with fewer flaws.
- Think Gov Digital (July 15, 2021; virtual) -- This event will detail how to take advantage of the speed, efficiency and innovation that comes with moving to the cloud and to continue accelerating digital transformation within the public sector.
- 2021 Digital Transformation Forum (August 10, 2021; virtual) -- Join federal executives and thought leaders from across the federal landscape to discuss how they are transforming their organization through the adoption of strategic technologies.
- Building an Agile Federal Government: A Call to Action (white paper) -- Public agencies must manage amidst risk and uncertainty, improve service delivery, and protect cybersecurity. This can be done by applying the core principles and lessons learned from agile software development to organizational management in government. Among other things, this new agile management paradigm makes "customer" or end-user satisfaction the top priority, empowers staff members and teams, and utilizes both networks and innovative ways of working to facilitate innovation and solve complex problems.
- The Road to Agile Government: Driving Change to Achieve Success (white paper) -- Today, governments around the world are dealing with the effects and after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, major social unrest ranging from Black Lives Matter to ending repression in Hong Kong, and the impacts of weather-related disasters and climate change. Timely and effective responses to these urgent issues are hampered by the use of traditional processes that employ bureaucratic hierarchy, focus on command and control, and do not involve the public in solving problems.