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Many complex IT programs are encumbered by requirements that continually change over lengthy time frames. The results are often cost overruns and schedule delays. As a result, desired mission objectives are not achieved.
Numerous studies and years of implementation experience with software development within complex IT projects provide evidence that Agile approaches, when executed correctly, improve the delivery of software and large system integration projects. For optimal results, Agile approaches must be planned, implemented with discipline, and tailored to the need of the project and the organization.
Agile delivery approaches support the federal government’s goals of doing more with less and improving the agency’s ability to manage their budgets and delivery dates.
While the Agile movement started officially in 2001, and is relatively young, most Agile concepts and practices have been applied to projects for decades. They are still popular because they have been proven to work. However, far too many problem implementations of Agile exist, and these unsuccessful implementations have generated some negativity about the Agile movement.
The purpose of this Guide is to help mission executives and program leaders understand how best to leverage Agile values, benefits, and challenges. Agile can be used as a tool to leverage IT in a way that minimizes time and cost and maximizes mission and operational effectiveness. This Guide sets forth ten critical success factors for implementing an Agile delivery. The critical success factors are based on lessons learned from delivering large, complex projects and programs, as well as formal assessments of troubled Agile initiatives. We hope that this Guide will be highly useful to executives throughout the federal government as they move toward implementing Agile projects.