Overcoming Agile Misconceptions - Catalyzing Culture Change in DOD

The past decade has seen a significant push from highest levels in government and DOD to transform troubled software development efforts from waterfall to agile methodologies. The frenzy reached new heights within the Air Force in 2018 with help from Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Will Roper and programs like Kessel Run, which have spawned their own movement with rallying cries like #AgileAF and #DevopsorDie among a group of younger, more tech savvy DOD junior leaders.

Today, most DOD software development efforts claim to follow agile principles (in 2018 Dr Roper directed that all Air Force software efforts must become "devops"), but the majority have simply adopted agile ceremony and tools to manage their still waterfall development. In this discussion, we focus on our experience working with a DOD customer that is deeply entrenched in a waterfall mentality. We'll review the challenges, frustrations and small victories we've achieved in the past two years as a new small business founded on the principles of modernization. We'll also propose a methodology for restructuring waterfall efforts into agile deliveries and share what's worked and what hasn't worked since we've been in business.


Outline/Structure of the Talk

- Briefer background managing large DOD efforts and solutions prior to agile

- Transition to agile development - the mandate

- Common government interpretation of agile and why it's not working

- Shifting back to agile - correcting the common mistakes (without getting fired)

- Success and failures along the way

Learning Outcome

Attendees will learn how a small business founded in 2017 by non software developers has become change agents for the Air Force's agile and devops movement. Strategy for shifting a deeply entrenched waterfall culture will be presented and empirical data on process lead times, value delivery and other metrics will be available as evidence of what has worked and what has not.

Target Audience

People who work with government, especially DOD

schedule Submitted 2 years ago