The Agile approach saves theFBI Sentinel Project
Brian Wernham FBCS FAPMAuthor and Consultant
Good evening to you all! Why should you care about how theGovernment handles big technology projects?Three reasons:One: Everyone in this room is a taxpayer.Even if you are not resident in the UK, you will have been paying sales tax on goods andservices while you are staying here. And then,no matter where you live, you will be payingtaxes to your Government in your country.So - you have a vested interest in efficient,nimble, Agile Government, whoever you are, wherever you live.Two: Government represents about 50% of ITspend - standards and approaches taken inGovernment projects have a major influencein the private sector.Three: Some of you will be working forGovernment bodies, or for suppliers toGovernment - now or in the future.Talking with Agile experts - in the private andpublic sectors, I see a massive opportunity toshift thinking on project approaches. We can now convince Chief InformationOfficers of large organisations that Agile ispart of the development landscape, that it isready for use ‘at scale’, and on missioncritical developments.Senior leaders ask me:“What is this thing called ‘agile’?”“Surely having a fixed specification before work starting reduces risk?”“Can Agile really be used to solve the problemof runaway government IT projects?”So - here is the question that we will addresstogether today. What evidence is there that Agile is What evidence is there that Agile is What evidence is there that Agile is What evidence is there that Agile issuitable for largesuitable for largesuitable for largesuitable for large----scale projects?scale projects?scale projects?scale projects? We need to make it clear to industry leadersthat there are two alternative approaches todeveloping large-scale technology projects -and, in most cases, only one is viable.Either the traditional, monolithic, ‘BigDesign Up Front’ approach of massive 'all ornothing' 'Waterfall' projects.Or, alternatively, the incremental, 'Agile'approach using 'Just Enough ProjectManagement' to implement the newprocesses and the supporting technology. Are the inherent problems of ‘Big Design UpFront’ and 'Waterfall' projects so difficult toexplain?I don’t think so.Let’s look at it from a leadership viewpoint.Businesses need risk management, nottechnical engineering for its own sake. Theyneed to effect business change at scale, not just tinker with broken processes.