Agile Development Means a Stronger Focus on the Mission
For application system owners looking to build their smarter, cheaper, and faster applications, Agile methodology is a hot topic - but are you ready to support the effort?
A key element to a successful Agile implementation is day-to-day involvement from a knowledgeable member of a program area or business area. This individual works closely with the development team to define, refine, and prioritize requirements for a series of fast-paced iterations. With Agile, this is an ongoing activity, not just a phase at the beginning of the project. Continual interaction with the requirements and business direction keeps a focus on the mission, preventing interpretation and surprises later in the development cycle.
With tight budgets and many government employees taking on additional duties to meet mission goals, having the time to work closely with a development team is a challenge. Without this requirements support, however, it is unlikely that the Government can realize all the benefits that an Agile method has to offer. These benefits include increased transparency, faster release turnaround time, focus on the business and end user, and better quality control.
If staffing is tight, and a fast-paced Agile approach is not possible, there are still benefits to using an iterative approach. Each iteration can be self-contained with its own requirements gathering phase. This approach is not as fast as true Agile, but an organization can realize some of the primary benefits such as self-contained iterations released as needed and earlier visibility and validation of the work performed. However, even with this approach, system users must be involved to get the most benefit.
Whatever approach is right for an organization, participation is necessary. A clear mission focus on your application requirements and business processes forms the foundation of a productive and successful implementation.