GAO on Agile

GAO-12-681Yesterday I shared the DHS CIO’s endorsement of the Agile Framework.  Today I read something from GAO that provides some really good ideas about executing Agile projects. The report is called “Effective Practices and Federal Challenges in Applying Agile Methods.”

Take a look at the single-page highlights. Everyone on the CG-LIMS team should take pride that we’re doing (or trying to do) the ten practices that the GAO describes as being used and found effective by officials at five agencies they studied.

  • Start with Agile guidance and an Agile adoption strategy.
  • Enhance migration to Agile concepts using Agile terms, such as user stories (used to convey requirements), and Agile examples, such as demonstrating how to write a user story.
  • Continuously improve Agile adoption at both the project level and organization level.
  • Seek to identify and address impediments at the organization and project levels.
  • Obtain stakeholder/customer feedback frequently.
  • Empower small, cross-functional teams.
  • Include requirements related to security and progress monitoring in your queue of unfinished work (the backlog).
  • Gain trust by demonstrating value at the end of each iteration.
  • Track progress using tools and metrics.
  • Track progress daily and visibly.

I’m sure the 14 challenges will resonate with you as well. My three favorites:

  • Federal reporting practices do not align with Agile.
  • Traditional artifact reviews do not align with Agile.
  • Traditional status tracking does not align with Agile.

When you have time, I’d encourage you to download and at least skim through the 39 page report.

There are lots more ideas and practices than the ten copied above. I’m sure as you read many of them, you’ll smile knowing we’ve already put that great idea to use. But I’ll bet there’s at least one idea you can put to work in your world of work that’ll make a difference.


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