Agile methodology is a common term in the IT industry, where people have to deliver large projects in a pre-defined timelines, have strict delivery schedules, and less time waiting for other teams to collaborate. In fact, this is a good thing as agile adoption not only ensures better task completion, but keeps every person involved in the process in a pro-active state.
So, the news is that both the US and UK government accounting oversight bodies have recommended the use of agile practices for government funded development projects, and have issued reports and guidelines on it. Both United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the United Kingdom National Audit Office (NAO) have released their set of guidelines for agile adoption.
Both departments have called the agile adoption beneficial in one or other ways. While GAO wants to implement it for lengthy IT projects that incur cost overruns and schedule delays, NAO wants to use agile in information and communications technology (ICT) procurement and delivery to reduce the risk of project failure.
Here is set of guidelines issued by both NAO and GAO:
GAO guidelines, which have been found to be successful on federal projects:
• Start with Agile guidance and an Agile adoption strategy.
• Enhance migration to Agile concepts using Agile terms, such as user stories (used to convey requirements), and Agile examples, such as demonstrating how to write a user story.
• Continuously improve Agile adoption at both the project level and organization level.
• Seek to identify and address impediments at the organization and project levels.
• Obtain stakeholder/customer feedback frequently.
• Empower small, cross-functional teams.
• Include requirements related to security and progress monitoring in your queue of unfinished work (the backlog).
• Gain trust by demonstrating value at the end of each iteration.
• Track progress using tools and metrics.
• Track progress daily and visibly.
NAO guidelines for identifying effective governance patterns and approaches for agile projects:
• Governance should mirror the philosophy of Agile methods – only do a task if it brings value to the business and does not introduce delays.
• Agile delivery teams should decide on the empirical performance metrics they will use and self-monitor.
• Senior management, external assessors, business users and the ICT team should be partners in quality, and this collaborative approach is an essential change in mindset.
• External assessment or reviews of Agile delivery should focus on the teams’ behaviors and not just processes and documentation.