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Taking an Agile Investment Approach

Agile Investment is an agile, phased approach to piloting potential solution investments. The piloting process begins with a Business-approved concept. The Business identifies strong Product Owners with the available time commitment to work with the CTO Office in managing requirements, facilitating a Scrum Team, and encouraging Agile adoption throughout the pilot phases. The release of funding dollars is staggered in order to better inform investment decision-making and reduce IT spend.

The goal of this approach is to create a stronger partnership between the Business and IT by increasing collaboration, providing faster solution delivery, increasing transparency, reducing risk, improving overall GSA IT investment spend, and increasing business value.

Kanban Board

Before we begin…

The concept…

  • Must be vetted and approved by the Business for investment with
  • The “Problem,” or opportunity, clearly defined with user input

The potential Proof of Concept (PoC) must have…

  • An assigned, dedicated, and committed Product Owner to represent the Business
  • With committed Team Members dedicated to the success of the effort and
  • Support needs identified and assigned from the CTO Office

What do we need to be successful?

The core Scrum Team Members must…

  • Be committed to the success of the effort
  • Prioritize attendance for Scrum Ceremonies
  • Enter and update pilot tasks in JIRA
  • Encourage strong user engagement for providing feedback and acceptance testing, when applicable.
  • Attend introductory session for basic understanding of Agile and the Scrum methodology

Understanding Pilot Team Roles

Throughout the pilot phases, the Core Implementation Team leverages the Scrum approach to manage requirements and tasks. The roles include: Scrum Team

Scrum Master serves as facilitator for the Team; enables the Team to self-organize and make changes quickly; manages the agile process for how information is exchanged. The Scrum Master is essentially “The Coach” of the Team.

Product Owner is responsible for communicating product vision; prioritizing the Product Backlog; clarifying requirements; accepting / rejecting each product increment; is empowered to decide whether the product increment is done or “shippable.”

Scrum Team is composed of cross-functional Team Members; they negotiate sprint commitments with the Product Owner and set the print goal. Scrum teams have autonomy regarding how to reach said commitments; should function in an intensely collaborative fashion; best practice is no more than three to nine members.

Stakeholders include the Project Sponsor (i.e. ACIOs); Business Line Owners; key Business Line groups / customers; participate in Sprint Demos; may also provide User Acceptance Testing (UAT) throughout the pilot process.

Pilot Team Ceremonies

Throughout the pilot phases, the Team participates in a number of Scrum Ceremonies, including the following:

  • PoC Kickoff
  • Standups
  • Sprint Planning
  • Sprint Demo
  • Sprint Retrospective
  • Lessons Learned throughout the PoC

The Scrum Ceremonies are short, focused meetings that revolve around targeted information. The goal is to ensure as little time as possible is taken away from development and business activities. While other commitments may arise, Team Members are expected to prioritize their attendance for these ceremonies.