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4 Steps to Agile Success in Government

If there is anyone who could stand to work faster and more efficiently, it is government offices. Gradually, agencies are coming to realize that agile could be the injection of vitality that they desperately need. In an article for GCN, Matthew Schenck shares four steps to introducing agile successfully:

  1. Build teams the right way, with overlapping roles.
  2. Implement the right tools.
  3. Use data to track progress.
  4. Be patient.

Speed Eventually

Team members need to be taught to think and operate as a unit, rather than as a bunch of individuals just looking to manage their own workloads. Skills will necessarily overlap so that people are not pigeonholed into one role, which in turn will remove risks of bottlenecks. When the team functions as a unit, they will inherently become better at interacting with each other, like the various organs that create the circulatory system in the body.

In the beginning, sticky notes will be enough to keep track of team workflows. But as the team matures, they will want to adopt tools that can be used to increase transparency for the overall agency. Transparency is good for its own sake, but it will also be useful in catching defects before they become a serious problem.

The data produced by tools will be very educational for the team’s continued development:

Burndown charts, which show the amount of work left to do versus the amount of time available, provide insight into whether or not teams are delivering on forecasts, honoring the integrity of their sprints, managing unanticipated scope changes and more. Velocity charts can monitor development speed during the course of a project and a team’s delivery on its promises. Finally, version reports — also called release reports — can be used to see the team’s progress toward the completion of a version.

Collectively, these data points form a complete picture of the agile development process and help identify areas of improvement.

Agile introduces a whole new way of thinking about work, so do not be surprised if it does not click immediately. Patience is key. If you trust the people and abide by the processes, you will eventually get the results you want.

You can view the original article here: https://gcn.com/articles/2017/07/19/agile-transition-tips.aspx

About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid’s Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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