With the continuous reduction of barriers to entry for adopting agile methodologies within federal agencies, organizations are facing bigger challenges of tailoring agile approaches and making them work for their specific needs and business practices.  There is no one-size-fits-all agile dictate, rather, it is a framework that allows for a self-organizing refinement of practices and team-norms based on constant feedback and retrospectives.  Given the flexible nature of agile practices, it can be challenging to identify potential hazards and anti-patterns that can derail even those teams that have a solid buy-in to adoption.

This presentation will identify specific agile landmines. Examples may include unexpected behaviors, unintended impacts of organizational change, and emergent bad practices that can be toxic. We’ve seen and managed these types of pitfalls in long term agile projects with experience that comes from adopting agile in cross-cutting organizations that often have competing interests.  Certain behaviors and practices may, on the surface, appear to be the right things to do for an organization’s specific needs, but have shown in the larger sense to be impediments to realizing the longer term productivity and responsiveness benefits that agile can bring.

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Outline/structure of the Session

0-5 minute - Introduction to agile in the federal government and provide context to client work

6-20 minute - Stories about what went wrong

21-35 minute - Recommendations for anticipating, recognizing and overcoming agile landmines

36-45 minute - Q&A


Learning Outcome

5 new techniques for energizing agile teams and avoiding common pitfalls

Target Audience

Scrum Masters, Product Owners and active agile scrum team members

schedule Submitted 1 week ago

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  • George Dinwiddie
    By George Dinwiddie  ~  3 days ago
    reply Reply

    Todd, Eric,

    This is in the Agile in Government track, but the title and description don't mention anything about government. I suspect they won't attract your target audience.

    The outline/structure doesn't contain any information for reviewers to assess the proposal.

     - George

    • Todd Hager
      By Todd Hager  ~  2 days ago
      reply Reply

      Thanks, George!  We modified the outline to more accurately reflect what we plan to present and in what order.


  • Liked Aleksandra Derkacheva

    What the FLASH? Moving toward agile government contracts.

    45 mins
    Case Study

    DHS FLASH was a grand experiment to develop a truly agile software development contract for all of the Department of Homeland Security. It was impressive in scale ($1.5b) and its innovative prototype-based competition model. 111 firms put in proposals and 11 were successful.

    Unfortunately, the contract was cancelled after a protest process. However, procurement and contracting are perhaps the biggest constraint to improving IT delivery for government.

    This panel examines this experience to discuss what happened, what went well, and what could be improved. Members of successful FLASH awardee teams will discuss the experience and process, then facilitate a discussion of how to make this model work.

    Note: the panel members will be refined in prep for the session. At a minimum, we can get some diversity of vendor participants from winning teams - and would welcome government-side participants as well.