Agile Building Blocks: Common Sense Steps to Agile Adoption at DHS
The Department of Homeland Security is establishing an "Agile First" policy for IT Development in 2015, and has published an Agile Guidebook to provide agency components and offices a glide path from Waterfall to Agile. To support the policy, DHS is has undertaken an effort to find out exactly where the enterprise is in terms of agile adoption beginning with the major IT investments. Initial discussions with programs showed misunderstandings of Agile terminology. So, DHS developed "Agile Building Blocks," ten simple, pragmatic questions to ask each major program. The answers to the building blocks questions are helping to determine the actual state of Agile adoption and are identifying the areas that would benefit from Agile coaching. This session can assist government agencies with the question of "where do I start?"
DHS consists of 22 separate components, each of which has its own Chief Information Officer, Chief Acquisition Executive, and respective IT and Acquisition staffs. Levels of Agile Expertise and Adoption range from world-class agilists (Starships) to little or none at all (Stagecoaches). However, a review of major programs indicates development methodology claims of "Waterfall, Incremental, Iterative, Spiral, or Agile." In addition, attempts to discuss Agile with long-term IT pros leaves them lost in a sea of new words like "ceremony, information radiator, and story points." To remove the Agile language barrier and to assess the REAL level of Agile adoption across the enterprise, DHS Headquarters established ten "Agile Building Blocks." These are ten pragmatic, simple to understand questions help to identify gaps in Agile understanding and adoption, so that headquarters can triage where to target coaching and assistance.
The session will also include a discussion of the overall DHS Agile strategy and how we plan to get there from here. Other government agencies can benefit from our lessons learned in pushing Agile through over the past several years. (And we'd love to hear what you have done at your agency!)