Agile Assessment Guide:

Best Practices for Agile Adoption and Implementation

GAO-20-590G: Published: Sep 28, 2020. Publicly Released: Sep 28, 2020.

Multimedia:

  • GAO: Agile, Explained: DevOpsVIDEO: Agile, Explained: DevOps

    This video explores DevOps, a way to extend Agile principles to encourage collaboration between developers and operations staff.

    Agile is an approach to software development that encourages collaboration across an organization and allows requirements to evolve as a program progresses.

  • GAO: Agile, Explained: Daily Standup MeetingsVIDEO: Agile, Explained: Daily Standup Meetings

    This video takes a closer look at daily standup meetings, a key teambuilding technique in which teams meet daily, often with everyone standing up, to encourage brevity and to discuss goals.

    Agile is an approach to software development that encourages collaboration across an organization and allows requirements to evolve as a program progresses.

  • GAO: Agile, Explained: Continuous IntegrationVIDEO: Agile, Explained: Continuous Integration

    This video explores continuous integration, a key workflow process in Agile development intended to minimize the time and effort needed to integrate new code from multiple developers.

    Agile is an approach to software development that encourages collaboration across an organization and allows requirements to evolve as a program progresses.

  • GAO: Agile, Explained: Software BottlenecksVIDEO: Agile, Explained: Software Bottlenecks

    This video looks at some of the bottlenecks to implementing Agile at agencies that aren't already set up for the kind of collaboration needed.

    Agile is an approach to software development that encourages collaboration across an organization and allows requirements to evolve as a program progresses.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Carol C. Harris
(202) 512-4456
harriscc@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Agile is an approach to software development in which software is developed incrementally and is continuously evaluated for functionality, quality, and customer satisfaction. Agile can reduce the risks of funding a program that fails or produces outdated technology.

This guide presents federal auditors and others with best practices to assess the adoption and use of Agile in federal agencies and elsewhere. The federal government is planning to spend at least $90 billion on major IT investments in FY 2021. It has struggled in this area. The government's management of IT acquisitions and operations remains on our High Risk List.

Computer code in light blue and white type on a navy blue background.

Multimedia:

  • GAO: Agile, Explained: DevOpsVIDEO: Agile, Explained: DevOps

    This video explores DevOps, a way to extend Agile principles to encourage collaboration between developers and operations staff.

    Agile is an approach to software development that encourages collaboration across an organization and allows requirements to evolve as a program progresses.

  • GAO: Agile, Explained: Daily Standup MeetingsVIDEO: Agile, Explained: Daily Standup Meetings

    This video takes a closer look at daily standup meetings, a key teambuilding technique in which teams meet daily, often with everyone standing up, to encourage brevity and to discuss goals.

    Agile is an approach to software development that encourages collaboration across an organization and allows requirements to evolve as a program progresses.

  • GAO: Agile, Explained: Continuous IntegrationVIDEO: Agile, Explained: Continuous Integration

    This video explores continuous integration, a key workflow process in Agile development intended to minimize the time and effort needed to integrate new code from multiple developers.

    Agile is an approach to software development that encourages collaboration across an organization and allows requirements to evolve as a program progresses.

  • GAO: Agile, Explained: Software BottlenecksVIDEO: Agile, Explained: Software Bottlenecks

    This video looks at some of the bottlenecks to implementing Agile at agencies that aren't already set up for the kind of collaboration needed.

    Agile is an approach to software development that encourages collaboration across an organization and allows requirements to evolve as a program progresses.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Carol C. Harris
(202) 512-4456
harriscc@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Why GAO Did This Study

From September 28, 2020 through September 27, 2021, GAO is seeking input and feedback on this Exposure Draft from all interested parties. Please click on this link https://tell.gao.gov/agileguide to provide us with comment on the Guide.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office is responsible for, among other things, assisting Congress in its oversight of the executive branch, including assessing federal agencies' management of information technology (IT) systems. The federal government annually spends more than $90 billion on IT. However, federal agencies face challenges in developing, implementing, and maintaining their IT investments. All too frequently, agency IT programs have incurred cost overruns and schedule slippages while contributing little to mission-related outcomes. Accordingly, GAO has included management of IT acquisitions and operations on its High Risk List.

Recognizing the severity related to government-wide management of IT, in 2014, the Congress passed and the President signed federal IT acquisition reform legislation commonly referred to as the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act, or FITARA. This legislation was enacted to improve agencies' acquisition of IT and enable Congress to monitor agencies' progress and hold them accountable for reducing duplication and achieving cost savings. Among its specific provisions is a requirement for Chief Information Officers (CIOs) at covered agencies to certify that certain IT investments are adequately implementing incremental development as defined in the Office of Management and Budget's capital planning guidance. One such framework for incremental development is Agile software development, which has been adopted by many federal agencies.

The Agile Assessment Guide discusses best practices that can be used across the federal government for Agile adoption, execution, and program monitoring and control. Use of these best practices should enable government programs to better transition to and manage their Agile programs. GAO has developed this guide to serve multiple audiences:

  • The primary audience for this guide is federal auditors. Specifically, the guide presents best practices that can be used to assess the extent to which an agency has adopted and implemented Agile methods.
  • Organizations and programs that have already established policies and protocols for Agile adoption and execution can use this guide to evaluate their existing approach to Agile software development.
  • Organizations and programs that are in the midst of adopting Agile software development practices and programs that are planning to adopt such practices can also use this guide to inform their transitions.

For more information, contact Carol Harris at (202) 512-4456 or harriscc@gao.gov.

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