IV&V for Federal Agile Programs: A Customer Experience Report

  1. Many federal government organizations have a requirement to perform independent verification and validation (IV&V) of software development projects for purposes of risk identification and compliance
  2. As more federal agencies move towards agile, they will need to devise agile-appropriate methods for evaulating agile teams and contractors for process performance and project risk identification
  3. Traditional approaches to IV&V are heavily biased towards waterfall, gate reviews, and traditional SDLC artifacts and hence, do not work well within an agile envrionment
  4. Agile programs have their own process-specific risks and issues that need to be evaluated uniquely.  The document-centric approach that has traditionally been used is innapropriate and ineffective for agile teams as it does not find the right risks and does not find them early enough in the development process.
  5. We at DHS/CIS have developed a unique, agile-appropriate IV&V model for a large agile transformation effort within DHS
  6. The model is used to discover process risks, design risks, code risks, and testing risks in real-time for agile teams
  7. The model serves as actionable and real-time feedback to teams, contractors, and federal managers that can be used for process improvement, vendor evaluation, and as a means to find and elevate delivery risks on agile projects
  8. Positive results, challenges, and recommendations related to the development, roll-out, and execution of this agile-appropriate IV&V model will  be shared
 
10 favorite thumb_down thumb_up 3 comments visibility_off  Remove from Watchlist visibility  Add to Watchlist
 

Outline/structure of the Session

  1. What is IVV and QA?
  2. What are traditional approaches to these activities within a waterfall/SELC framework?
  3. Why these approaches are not vialbe for agile
  4. Our design goals around successful agile project oversight and risk discovery
  5. Our approach to agile oversight and risk discovery
  6. Sample outputs and outcomes
  7. Lessons learned

Learning Outcome

  1. How traditional QA and IVV are not appropriate for agile and why
  2. Learn key facets of effective agile oversight on government projects
  3. Learn alternative approaches to discovering and elevating risks and issues on agile projects
  4. Gain insight  into the challenges and approaches to successfully rolling out such an evaluation program within your organization

Target Audience

Federal managers, project managers, contract officers, vendor managers, IV&V Staff, QA Staff

schedule Submitted 3 years ago

Comments Subscribe to Comments

comment Comment on this Proposal
  • Dante Vilardi
    By Dante Vilardi  ~  3 years ago
    reply Reply

    This will be a great presentation on a very important and challenging topic.

  • Ben Morris
    By Ben Morris  ~  3 years ago
    reply Reply

    We're going through this on a project now. Some wasted time and effort involved.

  • John Hughes
    By John Hughes  ~  3 years ago
    reply Reply

    Roland is an amazing presenter and experienced coach.  He will certainly provide a great experience to his attendees.

     


  • Andrea
    Andrea
    Agile Coach
    Santeon
    schedule 3 years ago
    Sold Out!
    60 mins
    Workshop
    Beginner

    Project success =  f (listening, feedback, intentionality, practices) 

    To make your agile practices and processes come to fruition, you need to cultivate an environment that promotes listening, learning, inquisitiveness, intentionality and top notch feedback that everyone is comfortable with. 

    Agile projects succeed when there are frequent high-quality reinforcing feedback loops. I will share communication models based on Clean Language questions of David Grove and the Systemic Modelling techniques of Caitlin Walker that can greatly increase clarity, sense of purpose and listening skills within your team and collaborative endeavors.  These include: Clean Questions, Clean Feedback, and Clean Setup.

    This is a hands-on, try it out, concrete practice session.

  • Liked Wyn Van Devanter
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Wyn Van Devanter - A Thin Automation Framework for Managable Automated Acceptance Testing

    60 mins
    Demonstration
    Intermediate
    Automated Acceptance Tests (AAT) can provide huge value, and can automate time-consuming tasks like regression testing, but aren't easy to scale.  Have you tried implementing them only to abandon them later?  Are they fragile?  Do they give a lot of false positives?  Do they take more time to write than the value you're getting out of them?  These are common problems with automated acceptance testing, but there are ways to mitigate these issues.  One great way is to create a very thin automation framework that helps you write the tests faster while reducing the fragility.  Wyn will walk through writing a thin automation framework, illustrating a test-driven approach that yields a framework appropriate for the software being tested.  The resulting tests are very clean and readable, and they become faster and faster to write as the framework evolves.  He will use C# and Selenium but the concepts are applicable to other languages and browser automation frameworks.  He will also illustrate simple approaches that reduce the fragility and maintenance costs of the tests.  Participants will come away knowing how to get started on an automation framework that will be easy to understand and maintain, and that should scale as much as needed.  
  • Liked Shawn Faunce
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Shawn Faunce - Engaging a Product Owner on a Government Contract: Challenges and Solutions

    30 mins
    Talk
    Beginner

    Great systems require active, capable Product Owners.  Functional innovation is not possible without their commitment and involvement in the project.  Too often in government contracting, the Product Owner is an Absentee Owner.  Agile Development teams often seek out tools and techniques to create great systems, however too frequently what is holding them back is the lack of an engaged Product Owner. Teams in this situation must face the elephant in the room if they desire to build a system that brings positive change in efficiency, productivity, quality, usefulness, and adoption.  This talk shares solutions I have used for challenges I see again and again on government contracts.

    The talk begins with some introductory material on the problem, its causes, what I mean by functional innovation, and why this is required to build great systems.  I describe four challenges with Product Owner engagement that are not unique to government contracting, but that I see recurring on projects: committing staff, procurement practices, role ambiguity, and absentee ownership.

  • Liked John Hughes
    keyboard_arrow_down

    John Hughes - Testing Inside Your Timebox: Death to the Hardening Sprint

    John Hughes
    John Hughes
    Director and Agile Coach
    Sevatec
    schedule 3 years ago
    Sold Out!
    60 mins
    Workshop
    Intermediate

    Testing sprints? Hardening sprints? Why do so many of us have these and other ways to get around completing all our required testing inside our defined timeboxes? Isn’t our goal to produce deployable features at the end of every Sprint?

    During our session, we will examine why it’s so hard to accomplish all necessary testing inside the iteration and show how to complete these tests within your timebox. Through interactive discussion and real world examples, we will provide insights on foreseeing, overcoming, and avoiding your hurdles and send you home with both long term methods and short term actions that will yield tangible results in achieving your goal.

    Our session will:
    • Illustrate the value of completing all of your testing inside your timebox
    • Identify the challenges in completing all these tests in such as seemingly short period of time
    • Discuss ideas and options to successfully overcome these challenges
    • Explore how to enable your organization and environment for efficient, rapid testing
    • Discuss real world examples of enablement and how we navigated the pain points of enabling testing processes that allow complete testing within an iteration
    • Explore DevOpsSec and how achieving testing within your timebox is a precursor to DevOpsSec
    • Provide short term tactics and actions to immediately improve your ability to complete your testing
    • Allow you to voice your concerns and challenges and discuss potential solutions to these impediments

    Most of us implement agile to reduce the time to deliver valuable working software and to increase the frequency of delivery with high quality through increased and earlier collaboration, shorter feedback loops, and reduced risk. While you can show improvement over Waterfall by performing typical agile methods, you cannot really live the dream without optimizing your agile execution.

    You will leave this session armed with the right knowledge to improve delivery on your current project or start your new projects properly so that you or your clients can reap the benefits of efficient process and high-quality software capable of achieving continuous deployment of fully-tested code at the end of each iteration.

  • Paul Boos
    Paul Boos
    IT Executive Coach
    Excella
    schedule 3 years ago
    Sold Out!
    60 mins
    Workshop
    Beginner

    So what does Collaboration really mean?  It's just ensuring people understand what each other is doing right?

    The Power of 13 Collaboration Game illustrates what true collaboration means.  We'll do work by rolling dice over a 3 week Sprint. We'll then explore the results and start our next Sprint. In each Sprint, we're going to increase the participation across players and see what the effect is on productivity.  Prepare to be surprised!

    Should there be enough time remaining in the hour; we'll then specifically apply true collaboration to better understand the effects of pair programming by playing Pair Poetry.  This simulates the power of pair programming and demonstrates why the one screen, one keyboard concept works.

  • Liked Shannon Ewan
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Shannon Ewan - The Art of Facilitating Agility

    60 mins
    Workshop
    Intermediate

    From an agile implementation perspective, emphasizing the art of facilitation is an incredibly powerful tool for creating a culture of collaboration, and then leveraging that culture as a springboard to organizational transformation.  With strong facilitators at the gateway between business and IT, within IT delivery teams, and at key intersection points within an organization, the challenges to achieving organizational agility diminish. Strong facilitators bring forth the wisdom of teams and provide a container for self-organization. Facilitation is the cornerstone of servant leadership. 

  • Liked Joshua Seckel
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Joshua Seckel - No defects in a government setting? What does that really mean?

    60 mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    We have heard a lot about no defects or zero defects, but is that reasonable or achievable in the government context?  How else can each sprint be deployable? Or how can you get to true flow with each story deployed to production?

     This session will explore how to get to a no defects posture across all of the tests required in a government setting. 

    We will look at the various types of testing:

    Unit, Functional, Integration, Security, 508, System, User Acceptance, etc 

    We will look at what defects mean and how (or if) they should be tracked

    We will look at what potential impediments from government organziations may exist in reaching a no defect state of software delivery

    We will look at what tools and techniques can be used successfully in the government setting to address the impediments and achieve no defects in released software

  • Liked Paul Bahrs
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Paul Bahrs - Faster than a speeding bullet – less risk than a water fall!

    60 mins
    Case Study
    Intermediate

    Faster than a speeding bullet – less risky than a waterfall!

    Government programs and agencies follow structured guidelines for just about everything. Guidelines reduce risk and control the value of products and services provided. It should come as no surprise that government organizations generally follow very structured processes for systems and software delivery too. However, the reality in today’s world is that change is inevitable and structured processes don’t harmonize well with change. Programs find themselves driven towards a more continuous engineering approach, where requirements evolve, stakeholders are engaged and an on-demand understanding of engineering artifacts optimizes decision making. These practices are key to Agile development which several government organizations have embraced in order to cope with rapid change and ever-rising citizen expectations.

    In this talk we will present real government case studies of agile adoption for systems and software engineering. We will discuss the objectives, adoption, application and outcomes for each case study and then open the discussion for Q&A.

  • Liked Scott Schnier
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Scott Schnier - Shu Ha Ri and Self Organizing Teams

    Scott Schnier
    Scott Schnier
    Agile Coach
    CGIFederal
    schedule 3 years ago
    Sold Out!
    30 mins
    Talk
    Advanced

    Join Scott as he discusses valuable lessons he has learned as an Agile Coach working with new agile teams on government projects. After several years on agile projects in the private sector the shift to agile in the public sector was quite a shock. Scott will discuss how the Japanese martial arts concept of ShuHaRi (roughly translated, it means first learn, next detach, then transcend) has helped him become a better coach when working on Agile transformations on government projects. Explore when the maxim “Let the team decide” is not appropriate and the technique of rationing tools and process to encourage engagement. Engage in thoughtful discussion about the stages of learning and come away with valuable guidance for managing the seeming paradox of self-organization and disciplined learning. This discussion provides a powerful message for agile coaches and scrum masters for teams just beginning an agile journey or just stuck in hybrid mode.

     

  • 60 mins
    Workshop
    Beginner

    Many agile initiatives suffer from a feeble launch.  As Aristotle once stated “Well begun is half done”.  Performing the activities associated with developing a sound charter can help increase the likelihood of success for a team or organization .  

    Beginning with the end in mind, we use retrospective techniques to develop consensus around objectives, vision, and mission.  In this workshop we introduce the components of a good charter and how those components help focus the teammates toward a common goal.  In addition, the development of the recommended charter components ensures that key questions are succinctly answered during the kickoff of a team.

    Participants will learn the various types of charters and their recommended content.  During the workshop activity teams will develop a complete charter based  team of their choice or a provided case study.

  • Liked John Hughes
    keyboard_arrow_down

    John Hughes - Waterfall comfort in an agile world: How to give Execs the answers they "used to get" now that you are agile

    John Hughes
    John Hughes
    Director and Agile Coach
    Sevatec
    schedule 3 years ago
    Sold Out!
    60 mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    Your progressive and efficient agile program can go downhill fast, and agile can get a bad rap, if upper management begins to think that the answers they used to get in the "Waterfall world" are no longer available to them in an agile world. Executives assume the team is managed poorly if they can’t produce artifacts they are used to seeing like fully resourced project schedules. They get frustrated when they can’t get a “straight answer” to questions they are used to having answered like “what is the project schedule’s critical path showing,” or “are we staffed properly to complete all the remaining requirements by the end of the contract.” They become unhappy with the team and possibly even start to see that “agile doesn’t work for our program” if they are told that they can’t get that information anymore in agile, or it isn’t clearly explained to them how to ask for the information they are really trying to understand.

    The answers are still there though the tools and methods are likely different. We need to be able to translate the questions being asked and help upper management understand how to better ask the questions to get what they are really looking for. Executives are responsible for ensuring the health of the program, that sufficient progress is being made, the program is within budget, the contractual requirements are being met, etc. Agile methods can leave executives uneasy because answers to questions regarding these can be “squishy” since user stories can be added and removed, they can use relative sizing techniques for estimation instead of specific hours, priorities can shift, and the customer’s needs drive much of the process decisions. By understanding what upper management really needs in order to be successful themselves, and how to extract that information using our agile toolset, we will be able to give them the data they need to continue managing the program and communicating its health to their leadership and customer counterparts. The goal for this session is to provide you insight into what is really being asked, to help your leadership better ask the questions “in an agile way,” and to deliver impactful answers derived from our agile toolset that allows for strong communication of the health of your program.

  • Paul Boos
    Paul Boos
    IT Executive Coach
    Excella
    schedule 3 years ago
    Sold Out!
    3 mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    Creating an approach for change is difficult. There is a fine line between imposing an Agile adoption and creating a Transformation where people are collaboratively working together for the change. Based on my experience and in large US Federal Government organizations where imposed adoptions seem the norm, I’ve been working on combining many concepts into a transformation model that can work for large organizations that have ingrained cultures. This starts by helping the organization’s people take ownership and personalize what Agile means to them. Believe it or not, this can work.

    Intended for senior executives and their immediate staff (and the coaches that help them), the Taking Flight approach presents the importance of culture and how creating an organizational aspiration will help guide people. For large organizations, culture has been built up over decades and changing this is of the utmost importance to have an Agile Adoption stick. There are 3 main points I’ll address:
    - how to get people ‘onboard’ with a cohesive direction that they accept by collaboratively building their aspiration
    - how to develop and select strategies for incremental improvement towards the aspiration
    - how to realize changing from old routines into new ones aligned with the aspiration

    To help establish cohesive direction, I use an Aspirational model (your Guiding Star) to help organizations develop the direction they want to go. I show how the differences between an Aspirational model and an End-State. I explain that aspirations are inspiring and allow for a mindset change by not expressing the final state in terms of structure our expected metrics. From there, I discuss different techniques for assessing the current state of the organization and its people and developing strategies and actions for the necessary change management to move towards the organizational Aspiration; this is where the concrete steps come into play. Throughout this portion, I have the group try out various techniques for building an aspirational model and how to build the backlog of work to undertake the transformation. I introduce the Power of Habit as a means to help the organization undergo the necessary behavior changes. I close with a discussion to help the audience think around limiting change-in-progress and how to grow capacity to become more responsive to change.

    In this, you’ll get exposed to a few of many hands-on techniques that can be used to develop your Aspiration and execute on it. These are:

    • KrisMap
    • Business Model Canvas
    • Habit Loops
  • Liked Simon Storm
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Simon Storm - Positioning Agile and Continuous Delivery for Auditors and Examiners

    60 mins
    Talk
    Advanced

    Agile emphasizes self managing teams that regularly change how they work to improve productivity. Auditors and examiners want to ensure that management is actively providing oversight and that the team is following a consistent and repeatable development process. Continuous Delivery and Infrastructure as Code requires operations engineers to commit code into source code control systems and it encourages developers to have sufficient access to help troubleshoot production problems. Meanwhile, auditors and examiners are strong believers in separation of duties. These are just a few examples of how new development processes are creating serious challenges for audited and regulated companies. Given the conflicting priorities, how is a highly regulated or audited company supposed to implement either Agile or Continuous delivery without violating the core principles of these development approaches?

    In this talk we will review 25 actionable items to help position Agile and Continuous Delivery so that your next audit is a success. Come with your own challenges as well as items that you are implementing so that the discussion period at the end of the presentation can include a meaningful session on additional tips and tricks you are employing or find solutions to your particular challenges.

  • Liked John Hughes
    keyboard_arrow_down

    John Hughes - The value is in Being Agile, not Doing Agile

    John Hughes
    John Hughes
    Director and Agile Coach
    Sevatec
    schedule 3 years ago
    Sold Out!
    60 mins
    Talk
    Advanced

    “Being agile” is a mindset change.  You can’t “be agile” just by following agile processes.  Agile practices have intended benefit which you likely will not achieve if you just “do agile.”  Assessing the processes and practices to understand why they have been put in place, and what they are trying to achieve, will help you start to see how you can produce the intended value agile is meant to bring.  When you and your team can see the intended value of the practices then you can perform better as a team, deliver more accurately and more frequently, and please your customer and users much more consistently.

    We will explore agile practices such as the Scrum ceremonies, WIP limits, specific information radiators, etc. to assess what they are really trying to achieve.  Agile processes derive in part from psychological attributes and needs.  Humans execute agile delivery and to come together better as a team, keep our customers and upper management comfortably informed, produce what our customers and users really want, and consistently deliver high quality software, we need to fulfill our psychological needs and address our human factors.  This session will help you to understand what the intended goals are in these practices, what mindset changes may be necessary, and how you can ensure that your team achieves the value.  If your team is just “doing agile” then your project will likely wind up as another one that “was not well-suited for agile” in the eyes of your team, upper management or customer.  If your team can ”be agile,” then upper management will celebrate your success and your customers will applaud the efficiency by which your happy team routinely delivers the precise features they are looking for.

  • Liked David W Kane
    keyboard_arrow_down

    David W Kane - The Role of Architecture in Agile Development

    60 mins
    Workshop
    Intermediate

    In large Government and Commercial organizations with many interacting systems, architecture is necessary to collaborate effectively across disparate entities and systems. Traditional command and control approaches to architecture are often ineffective and cause great tension, especially when Agile efforts are part of the portfolio. We will discuss two principles, Vision and Partnering.  These principles provide insight and get results for both architects and Agilists; and present tools and approaches on how to effectively engage architects and architecture.

  • Liked Elizabeth Raley
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Elizabeth Raley - Agile Gov Playbook: Dissecting the New White House TechFAR Handbook

    30 mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    The White House recently created a new Government Digital Services group to deliver “customer-focused government through smarter IT.” As part of this announcement the Office of Management and Budget released the “Digital Services Playbook” and an accompanying “TechFAR Handbook for Procuring Digital Services Using Agile Processes” to make it easier for agencies to procure and implement agile.


    In this session, we’ll review the TechFAR handbook objectives, key components and recommendations for getting agile adopted in your agency.

  • Liked Huet Landry
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Huet Landry - I Think I Kan(Ban) - How to get your release train going with a small engine.

    60 mins
    Workshop
    Intermediate

    This session will be an interactive exploration of how delivery teams, product owners, and organizational stakeholders can get their "story cargo" moving without first having to tear down the mountain range or create a fission-powered maglev train to carry everything including an army of kitchen sinks.

    Large organizations - especially Government ones, like to talk about change, but mostly they appear interested in changing everything but themselves.  Based on the concept of "The Little Engine That Could", this session is designed to help you examine ways to use Kanban and SAFe principles to get your release train accelerating even when you are being asked to haul MONSTER epic stories along the tracks that seem to be climbing up sheer cliffs of compliance regulations.  

    Bring your favorite "Franken-story" examples and be prepared to have fun talking about ways of getting them over the mountain range.

     

  • Liked Kerri Sutey
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Kerri Sutey - Implementing Scrum Successfully on a Non-Software Development Project

    30 mins
    Talk
    Beginner

    A common misconception of Agile Scrum is that it can only be applied to software development projects.  This case study examines a DOD Modeling & Simulation project set in a Scrum environment and focuses on the roles, interactions and "rules of engagement" for all relevant stakeholders. Some of the key aspects that will be described are the critical importance of the team, customer involvement, frequent communication, and lessons learned. Executed properly, Scrum can transform the responsiveness, productivity, and quality of products and organizations. This work serves as proof that Agile can be successfully implemented in non-software development projects.

  • Liked Donald Patti
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Donald Patti - Rapid Retrospectives Run Right

    60 mins
    Workshop
    Intermediate

    Sprint retrospecives are a key part of Agile, but are you getting enough out of your retrospectives? Are they taking too long?

    In this session, you will learn how to

    1. Gather input from "the quiet types" who may be hesitant to speak out in groups;
    2. Separate the positive feedback from he negative feedback easily;
    3. Quickly determine the level of support for each feedback item;
    4. Increase the amount of team input as much as five-fold; and,
    5. Synthesize and organize the input you receive so that you can act.

    In doing so, you will increase team satisfaction with retrospectives and improve team productivity.

    About the Speaker

    Donald Patti is a Director of Applications for the AAMC, a non-profit organization that serves medical schools and students by providing services that enable members to improve the health of all. He also teaches courses in software development, web design, e-business and project management for the University of Phoenix. Prior speaking engagements have included presentations on risk management to PMI Washington DC, on Agile to PMI Washington DC, on release planning to Global Scrum Gathering and Agile 2014; and, on Lean Principles, Tools and Techniques to AAMC constituents.

  • Liked Mishta A Brooks
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Mishta A Brooks - 5 Moving Trains all Trying to Merge on the Same Track

    30 mins
    Talk
    Beginner

    United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) decided to shift thier agencies current Transformation to include changing the entire development process all at one time. This included utilizing multiple contractors, shifting to a DEV/OPS structure, using a new cloud enviroment, transitioning from COTS to open source software all while introducing Agile concepts to the development team. This complete overhaul of "business as usual" was a complete culture shock to the enviroment and required close colloboration and consistent communication in order to create change and progress. As the Release Manager during this transition I will speak the lessons learned and how the team was able to progress after the introduction of so much change at one time, all while ensuring Government requirements were still met.