The President’s Management Agenda identified IT Modernization as one of the Administration’s highest priorities. But many federal requirements are evolving – and will keep changing even under continually increasing public scrutiny. Impatience with long lead times, poorly functioning business systems, and old technology have driven more agencies to insist upon Agile solutions to their requirements.
REI Systems Agile Delivery Framework
Our Agile Delivery Framework (ADF) moves from Initiation – an understanding of the customer’s and their stakeholders’ motivation and needs – through Planning with customers and innovators, to iterative Execution, learning, adapting and improving over successive sprints, to Release. The entire process repeats with learning from a Release informing new or revised Initiation, Planning, and Execution in turn.
Agile Solutions for Mission-critical Systems
When it comes to Agility, REI Systems is different than other companies. We have the experience to bring Agile methods to mission-critical IT systems at the team level, and at scale. Even more important, we embrace an Agile mindset throughout REI, applying Agile to all aspects of our business, from finance to HR, contracts to facilities. This gives us a unique perspective on the transformative power of Agile, enabling us to better understand
challenges our customers face in adopting Agile. Agile means that REI offers:
- Agile Center of Excellence: REI includes a dedicated group of Agile experts, and we organize community meetups to continually refine our approach, applying new tools, creating innovative solutions, establishing best practices and building employee capabilities and expertise.
- Agile Software Development: Best practices for Agile development at scale for mission-critical systems, including XP practices, delivery using Scrum/Kanban, continuous integration, and feedback cycles, etc. It is updated frequently as we learn more via the COE.
- Advice and Innovation around Agile: REI Systems offers advice on how to change culture, practices, roles, and tools to put Agile in place for software, and for agency management and business processes. Customers benefit from our experience with Agile software development tools such as CI/CD, DevSecOps, and SCRUM.
- Agile Value: Our Agile Delivery Framework offers continuous delivery of value, at the team level and at scale for mission-critical systems. Customers receive usable increments throughout the development process, solving the problem of a final solution that is out-of-date when delivered.
Agile Success in the Public Sector
GSA Integrated Award Environment
Between 2010 and 2014, GSA sought to modernize its System for Award Management at a cost of over $70 million, supported by a vendor using a “waterfall” development approach. On the day it went live, GSA received 10,000 help desk calls about the system, and was forced to shut it down immediately. Soon after, GSA started over, with an Agile approach, and selected REI as one of several vendors. GSA reorganized people, processes, and technology and sought extensive training to become Agile. REI helped bring transparency, capable people and the tools that GSA needed to succeed. As a result, REI was able to provide GSA a “Minimally Viable Product” in just 60 days, a complete “Alpha” software solution for use by select customers within six months, and a publicly available beta.SAM.gov in 18 months – at one-third the cost of the 2014 effort.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development needed an Agile development process that enabled improved time to market, consistently high-quality code and a robust velocity for successful deployment of new HUD systems and applications. REI helped streamline the development of HUD’s mission-critical FHA Loan Review System (LRS) via Continuous Integration / Continuous Deployment (CI/CD). Automated deployments now happen within minutes rather than days, and multiple deployments to Staging and Preproduction take place each week. CI/CD is a natural fit for government agencies struggling to improve the performance of siloed teams and reap the full benefits of Agile development.
REI has supported the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in 2014 to adopt Scrum at Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC). BPHC implemented Agile to their operations to allow team-based work assignment instead of individual assignment. Since then, REI has expanded the Agile transformation to four other bureaus. As a result, users see the system and provide early feedback to improve usability, and addressed incorrect functionalities iteratively instead of waiting until User Acceptance Testing (UAT). Deliverable quality has also significantly improved because of early automated testing, transparency and collaboration within the team.
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