Now there is something new for the Agile software development and Scrum project management communities to be excited about. Fiscal Year 2010 brought about United States congressional policy adjustments into how the Secretary of the Defense will procure and deliver IT services and systems. A detailed excerpt from the legislature follows:
HR 2647, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, Sec. 804.
“The Secretary of Defense shall develop and implement a new acquisition process for information technology systems. The acquisition process developed and implemented pursuant to this subsection shall, to the extent determined appropriate by the Secretary –
… be based on the recommendations in chapter 6 of the March 2009 report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Department of Defense Policies and Procedures for the Acquisition of Information Technology; and
… be designed to include –
– multiple, rapidly executed increments or releases of capability;
– early and continual involvement of the user;
– early, successive prototyping to support an evolutionary approach; and
– a modular, open-systems approach.
Why is this exciting? Well, for the first time in history the United States Department of Defense has mandated through Policy that software development be iterative and incremental while continuously involving the users of said product development. For an Agile or Scrum practitioner this is exactly what we’ve spent years working towards in concepts explained in documents like the Agile Manifesto.
The largest hurdle from this author’s perspective will be whether localized agency cultures will trump externally mandated top-down policy. In the end only time will tell if this change will have legs. If the Agile and Scrum communities want to help make it a success, we’ll need to actively participate in educating newly mandated agencies (at the localized team level) in this exciting and purpose driven type of project management and software development.