“We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.”
The Agile manifesto, above, is more relevant now than ever in government. In traditional waterfall methods of software development, long lists of requirements are documented up front, and months, and sometimes years go by until the customer gets a look at the product. By that time, the requirements are often obsolete, and any misinterpretation of the requirements can become a major rework issue. By contrast, the rapid, iterative nature of Agile allows government clients to see a working representation of their requirement within weeks, and the close collaboration with the team means any needed redirection can happen immediately, saving time and money.
Our team provides certified ScrumMasters, certified Product Owners, and a team of experienced Agile project managers. We work with developers to capture and groom the backlog to prioritize tasks and user stories (requirements), then perform release and sprint planning, conducting trade off decisions with guidance from the Product Owner. As the sprint cycle begins, we transform the user stories into test cases using acceptance criteria for the capability, and document the steps needed to prove/disprove alignment with those criteria. We perform testing, conduct sprint-end demonstrations of the working software, and provide training on how to use developed capabilities.
We have leveraged the Atlassian suite of systems for Agile oversight: requirements, along with their dependencies and prioritizations are captured in JIRA, while work products and artifacts are captured in Confluence. We also have experience with the Rational suite for development management.
Some recent successes include:
- Team Artlin recently led the successful transition of a DoD client from waterfall to an Agile approach backed by best practice project management. We work with a developer to manage multiple systems and applications through regular sprints. For this client, we adapted our typical project management tools to better manage Agile development; for example, we capture sprints within our IMS. Additionally, we work on multiple scrum teams as business analysts, ScrumMasters, and designated Product Owners on behalf of the government.
- Team Artlin is working with two other companies to implement a publishing system for the Government Accountability Office. We are serving as business analysts, working closely with the government Product Owner to adapt a COTS product to their needs through three-week sprint cycles. We have built a successful prototype, and are now piloting the tool.