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Changing Traditional Project Management: 15 Tips on Bringing Agile Methodology to Government

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Today, technology is a critical component to transform and modernize government to truly create a 21st century government. For our year-end report, the GovLoop team set out to explore what technology trends shaped 2012 to help agencies meet organizational goals. The report also includes best practices, case studies, and identifies which trends will shape government technology in 2013. This post will highlight one of those core trends, agile methodology.

Story Highlights

  • GovLoop Releases New Report on government technology in 2012
  • Report includes interviews with government thought leaders, insights from 250 GovLoop members, case studies and best practices
  • This story reviews cloud computing as a core trend for government in 2012

The report below includes a survey from 250 members of the GovLoop community, and interviews with Bernie Mauzer, Chief Information Officer, Department of the Interior, Jim Ropelewski, Chief Procurement Officer, Department of Education, Linda Cureton, Chief Information Officer, NASA and Malcolm Jackson, Chief Information Officer, Environmental Protection Agency. Be sure to check out the entire report below and related resources on the guide landing page.

Changing Traditional Project Management: 15 Tips on Bringing Agile Methodology to Government

Federal agencies depend on IT to support their missions and spent over $76 billion on IT in fiscal year 2011. Although agencies have invested billions into government IT initiatives, almost 50% of IT projects fail. Far too often lengthy IT projects incur cost overruns and schedule delays and contribute little to mission-related outcomes.

View the Guide Above Or Click Download Now.


To reduce the risk of such problems, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recommends modular software delivery consistent with an approach known as agile, which calls for producing software in small, short increments. Agile emphasizes this early and continuous software delivery, as well as using collaborative teams that can quickly respond to valid changing requirements, and measuring progress with working software built incrementally.

Agile is a very different approach and cultural change than traditional project management approach

  • So how do you change the traditional project management and waterfall approach?
  • How do you bring agile methodology to government?


Here’s 15 tips from experts within government

5 Tips from ICE Program Manager Brent Bushey who implemented agile methodology
1. Develop a strong and cohesive mission
2. Identify the highest priority items and tackle those first
3. Work with the end users and the development team to accomplish the tasks
4. Create a rigorous methodology and terminology
5. Set a defined time period

10 key practices from GAO of an effective agile initiative in government agencies:

1. Start with agile guidance and an agile adoption strategy
2. Enhance migration to agile concepts using agile terms and examples
3. Continuously improve agile adoption at project and organization levels
4. Look to identify and address impediments at the organization and project levels
5. Get stakeholder/customer feedback often
6. Empower small, cross-functional teams
7. Include requirements related to security and progress monitoring in your queue of unfinished work
8. Gain trust by showing value at the end of each iteration
9. Use tools and metrics to track progress
10. Track progress daily and openly

The GovLoop Guide: Government Technology Year in Review

Agile Government Cloud Technology Turning Data into Power Expansion of Mobility Social Government

This page is brought to you by the GovLoop Technology Solutions Council. The mission of this council is to provide you with information and resources to help improve government. Visit the GovLoop Technology Solutions Council to learn more.

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