Agile in Government – A How To

The First Iteration of the Agile Delivery Guide For Government

Introduction

I first came across Agile as a concept in around April 2010 when I was working as a Project Management Consultant at a renewable energy provider in Tasmania, Australia.

There was a need to maintain a competitive advantage through the updating and continued maintenance of the electricity trading software that was used by Traders trading on the National Electricity Market. As I recall we looked around at different methods of software delivery and arrived at a conclusion that we needed to build a team that was able to be responsive to change in a fast-paced ever-changing business environment. We arrived at Scrum to take us there.

So off we went to Melbourne to learn about how to be Scrum Masters with Rowan Bunning’s two-day Scrum Master Course. After that, we brought Rowan down to Hobart to train up the entire team of developers, BAs and testers.

We were off and running, I went back to my day job of PMO coordinator and Project Manager using the principles and framework that I had learnt from Rowan.

I then moved to another role within the public sector in Tasmania, where I used the Agile Principles, Scrum and Kanban to facilitate the delivery of a complex Whole of Government telco program. We applied the key aspects of transparency and communication to turn the program around, to a point where it successfully delivered its scope of work.

Then was the move into the Australian Government in Canberra, Australia, where I worked in the Health sector, then Foreign Affairs now back in the Health sector using the Agile Principles and various frameworks.

All the while bringing an agile mindset to every problem that was presented.

After being a waterfall/Prince2/PMBOC Project Manager since 2003, and an Agile guy since 2010, delivering across both private and public sector programs, I think I am well qualified to lay out a blueprint that may assist you in being able to both make the move from a ‘traditional’ approach to delivering work, to someone that can deliver with an agile mindset and skillset.

Particularly in the public sector, where I am currently helping to coach and servant-lead a large body of important public sector transformation in the Health sector.

My intention is to lay out here a complete blueprint for your guidance in an iterative series of posts that build out the detailed contained in the paragraph heading straw man layout.

I’m going to update this post and ask for feedback, adjust my previous work based on that feedback and continue to build out the remainder until it is complete.

I hope that you will follow me on this journey, in the hope that we can learn from each other, and create a helpful body of work that will assist the many of us in the public sector that may be grappling with how to do this Agile thing, and in particular attempting to do it at scale and within the traditional budget cycle of Government, including the myriad of approval processes and approaches.

So to start the first iteration and to allow this post to go out in to the ether for comment, here is the current thinking in terms of a Table of Contents.

Please don’t forget to provide your feedback below.

Table of Contents

Introduction

<As per above>

Agile Principles

<Essentially the Agile Principles verbatim from Agilemanifesto.org however replace the word “software” with “product” which will cover 99.9% of it’s applicability for delivering business projects, not just software.>

Scrum Guide

<The idea is to provide the Scrum Guide 2016 as an annex for reference, so the reader will have a contextual understanding of where each Artifact, Event and Role is based.>

Approach to Agile Delivery

<The purpose of this paragraph is to outline how closely the Agile Delivery Guide is mapped to the Scrum Guide, Agile Principles, LeSS – Large Scale Scrum and Scaled Agile Framework.>

Application of Scrum Roles

<The purpose of this section is to directly map the 3 x Roles found in the Scrum Guide to corresponding Public Service roles.>

Application of Scrum Artifacts

<The purpose of this section is to directly map the three Artifacts found in the Scrum Guide and their applicability within the work area or the project, and at scale within the program.>

Application of Scrum Events

<The purpose of this section is to map the six Events found in the Scrum Guide to existing public service meetings and when and how they are conducted.>

The final section will include traditional terminology such as:

  • Risk Management
  • Dependency Management
  • Issue Management
  • Constraints
  • Reporting

Conclusion

I know that all this information can be found by actually reading the Scrum Guide, Agile Principles, SAFe and LeSS websites, however I continually come across the problem of being required to document the approach, so that it can be approved by those at distance from the work. The document being the only means by which the framework and principles can be communicated, discussed and approved, as sad as it may sound.

So if I am able to put together a definitive Agile Delivery Guide for Government, it could be reused as a resource by everyone under the Creative Commons licence.

Please reach out and become involved, please leave you comments below or contact me directly via the social media channel of your choice.

References:

The Scrum Guide 2016 (PDF): http://www.scrumguides.org/docs/scrumguide/v2016/2016-Scrum-Guide-US.pdf

Agile Principles 2001: http://agilemanifesto.org/

LeSS Framework – Large Scale Scrum: https://less.works/

SAFe – Scaled Agile Framework: http://www.scaledagileframework.com/

Post Cover Image: Non-commercial reuse with modification,  https://goo.gl/AxsHGV

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