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FCW : July 15, 2016
DrillDown the agile, iterative and user-centered methods.” • The world is full of change, and that is only going to increase. The combination of globalization and shifts in socioeconomic power is leading to a much less stable world. Software delivery processes that encourage long-term projects with time horizons of three to five years have limited value in this environ- ment. Agile by its very nature encour- ages teams to deliver software, sys- tems and products faster, and break down large problems into manageable chunks. Scrum is the answer When we say agile, for the majority of organizations that means “scrum.” In a recent agile survey, scrum was cited as being most closely used 68 percent of the time. Scrum provides a lightweight framework that teams can easily adopt, but the sheer number of people who know the methodology lowers the challenge of finding quali- fied team members. Many organizations, therefore, look to Scrum as a key part of agile adop- tion because: • Scrum is popular. A quick Google search will provide you with hun- dreds of books and thousands of web pages describing adoption prac- tices, examples and case studies. The sheer volume of material and the abil- ity to demonstrate your knowledge with professional certification build demand for Scrum and provide a mar- ket for it. Unlike many agile approach- es, Scrum provides clear guidance on what the bare minimum for adoption is and what additions to the frame- work are needed to maximize the chances of success. • Scrum is being used at scale. From the very beginning, scrum was applied to complex, large projects, usually as an antidote to the chal- lenges of waterfall methodology. But many of the ideas for applying scrum at scale were left to the scrum team to solve. With the introduction of the Nexus framework and other agile scaling approaches, there are now codified extensions to scrum that support more complex situations. • The FBI’s Sentinel project paved the way for success. Much has been written about this program, but the highlights describe how a $450 million project was stopped after an invest- ment of four-plus years and $421 mil- lion. The resulting reboot relied on scrum and a studio approach, which delivered a successful project in a year at a cost of $30 million. That project and others like it provide a great foundation for government agencies looking to adopt scrum. And it is time to start Many software developers have been watching the agile movement from the sidelines, saying, “This is great, but I work in the government.” It is now time to get off the sidelines. Agile is real and is making inroads into many parts of the government today. In fact, TechFAR highlights flexibilities in the Federal Acquisition Regulation that allow for agile proj- ects, and the Office of Management and Budget is increasingly turning to agile approaches to solve very public challenges with large IT projects. Here are some tips for getting started: • Immerse yourself in the ideas. Perhaps because of the sheer vol- ume of materials, it is hard to decide where to begin. “The Scrum Guide” is the definitive description and pro- vides a great place to begin, followed by Ken Schwaber and Mike Beedle’s groundbreaking book “Agile Software Development with Scrum.” • Take a class and prove your knowledge. Reading about scrum is great, but talking about the ideas of empirical process and agile practices benefit from spending some time in the classroom. Validating that learn- ing with assessment and certification ensures that you stay focused and proves you have the foundational knowledge. • Start using Scrum in your team. There will never be a perfect time to get started, and it is always possible to find reasons to not do it. But even within the confines of water-scrum- fall, applying scrum at the team level can still provide value and experi- ence. n Dave West is product owner at Scrum.org. 32 July 15, 2016 FCW.COM Many software developers have been watching the agile movement from the sidelines, saying, “This is great, but I work in the government.” It is now time to get off the sidelines. Agile is real and is making inroads into many parts of the government today. 0715fcw_030-032.indd 32 6/28/16 9:34 AM
June 30, 2016
July 30, 2016