Don't Mess with Button Bear (and other key lessons from the US Small Business Administration's Agile Transformation)

Many organizations struggle with failure and turn to Agile as a game-changer. But how do the dynamics of government magnify the challenge of Agile adoption?  Through this 45-minute case study of the SBA One Certification program, the start of the US Small Business Administration's Agile journey, we'll

  • Describe what triggered SBA's transition to Agile from waterfall software development
  • Explain how key players from the SBA, USDS and 8(a) contractors Telesis & Enquizit led the transition to Agile
  • Review the combination of tools, technologies and practices that led to the successful launch of in just seven months
  • Cover how the SBA has built upon the success of to become a leader in Agile adoption among small government agencies

In addition, co-presenters Mary O'Toole (US Department of Homeland Security), Phil Jones (Telesis) and Donald Patti (Cedar Point Consulting) will propose a framework for understanding government inaction, helping others to make radical, transformative change in government possible.

(And, of course, we'll also explain Button Bear).

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Outline/structure of the Session

Through our 45-minute case study, we'll cover:

  • OneTrack - The program that triggered the drive for radical change
  • Why can’t we move the ball? Understanding inaction in government
  • The arrival of USDS, the SBA's digital services vision and the SBA One Certification Program
  • The tale of SBA One - from contract start to launch in 7 months
  • Agile takes root
  • Why the ball moved at the SBA
  • Implications for other Agile government initiatives

Learning Outcome

1. To help others to succeed in implementing and adopting Agile in government by providing a tangible, real-life example of a successful adoption & implementation.

2. To provide a framework for understanding government inaction that can be applied to trigger significant, lasting change.


Target Audience

This session is geared toward government Agilists and those who are helping to build a more agile U.S. government.


Attendees need a basic understanding of Agile principles and practices, as well as an interest in Agile in government.

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