Agile TeamsThere is almost no part of our daily existence that technology doesn’t touch. From basics like the cars we drive to our complex road infrastructure. While Moore’s Law continues to advance technology exponentially, society has become more reliant on devices and connectivity to live. Governments need to quickly adapt and keep up with change in order to support the technologically advanced public. As most know, government projects tend to spend large sums of taxpayer money. Is it possible to change the way the government functions and seek a more efficient solution? The answer, in short, is yes. Agile is the way to get this accomplished.

There is training for federal government clients that delivers better, streamlined software development practices. The agile method is a set of principles establishing guidelines for more effective, logical development.

In the private sector, agile practices are increasing and becoming much more mainstream. It’s forecast that in the next decade, this approach will simply be referenced as “software development.” Agile methods are even being adopted in non-software sectors. The private segment, destined to stay a step ahead of the public world, is well on its way. There is hope for the government sector as well.

The government’s Office of Management and Budget has taken notice of agile methodology and its impact on the digital transformation of government services. Lisa Schlosser, Deputy Associate Administrator for the Office of E-Government and Information Technology has determined that agile methodology will play a key role in the government’s ability to provide digital services to the public. The end goal is to reduce costs, further progress and launch projects. Let’s take a look at the type of real world solutions agile teams can provide.

Structured Development

The main focus is on quality. Quality teams, process, use of time and functioning deliverables, are all paramount. The agile method may seem counterintuitive to the traditional project planner, but that’s only because it was done a specific way for decades. With big government projects, it’s easy to think that you might need to draw out every aspect of cost and schedule from the start. However, the scope of a project tends to change over time and agility accounts for this. The state of Maine overhauled its redundant systems to streamline and digitize their citizen services processes. Instead of drawing up a detailed roadmap from the beginning, teams got things moving quickly with quality and accountability being a prime focus. Maine’s digital transportation using agile methods increased development productivity up to 90 percent.

Adequate Compliance

Agile critics believe less importance is placed on traditional documentation or compliance. The purpose of documentation is to establish requirements and specifications. Planning in fact does occur at the beginning of an agile project and compliance is kept at a high-level, so as not to be exhaustive. Agile counterparts hone in on the real requirements issues, zero in on the real scope and ultimately move toward the real product of a project.

Contracts, Budgeting and Legislation

With the regimen of predetermined legislation dictating budget and schedule, how does agile fit in? By creating incredibly productive, cross-functioning teams with members responsible for the team’s success. Instead of variable costs associated with development, testing and contractors, and agile team gets to work. Difficult project factors, like scheduling and scope, are easier to manage. With a dedicated team in place, the main variable becomes project duration.

On the government side, as in the private sector, there’s a trend toward the agile model. There is incredible potential and the opportunity to save large sums of money by bucking tradition. Agile principles have already been successfully implemented for various government agencies and continues to provide real life solutions.