Is American DoD getting Agile?

“The purpose of theory is to predict future observations”

Martino Vallara sent me an interesting link about recent rules inside Department of Defense in the USA. In section 804 (implementation of new acquisition process for information technology systems) they state:
(2) be designed to include—
  (A) early and continual involvement of the user;
  (B) multiple, rapidly executed increments or releases of capability;
  (C) early, successive prototyping to support an evolutionary approach; and
  (D) a modular, open-systems approach.

These are hardly far  from Agile principles. You can say they are Agile principles. This new approach is interesting because DoD is [supposed to be] a quite factual institution. This lead me to think that – frequently – discussions about Agile / no Agile are a little bit abstract. An expert of practical thinking is likely teaching us something.


2 responses to “Is American DoD getting Agile?

  1. Actually I don’t agree.

    If you look at “early successive prototyping” — that is far different from “delvering potentially shippable product each iteration”.

    It looks like DoD is looking for an incremental traditional appraoch, with upfront prototyping, not Agile per se


  2. Hi, Jordan, I agree with you in that “early successive prototyping” is different from “delivering shippable product”. In fact I didn’t say that. And even if I sincerely don’t exactly understand what you mean with “upfront prototyping”, I agree with the kernel of what you think: very unlikely DoD is looking for Agile per se! What I observed was that DoD is trying to develop software in a way less optimistic about the power of design.
    I am a traditional engineer, and so naturally oriented to design every detail before its implementation.
    My very humble experience is that this model just doesn’t work with software. I discovered it in a very simply but effective way: looking at expenses and incomes in my software shop, that I own with some friends. Then we looked for different ways and we found that some Agile principles were more effective in _our_ case.
    So I don’t care very much if it is Agile or it is just common sense or even misunderstood waterfall. If you state that incremental approach is “traditional”, I believe it for your situation, but take for granted that it is not the case in Italy, while I think it is a good habit.
    Thanks for your comment, I’ll continue to read your interesting blog – and to compare – as you do – every statement with reality.

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