How to Apply Agile Development and Open Source to Federal Projects

WFED 1500AM Federal Tech Talk with John Gilroy interviews Shelia Duffy (President) and Mary-Sara Camerino (Director of Technology Services) at Greystones Group. Listen to the full interview.

Shelia Duffy, President of Greystones Group

Shelia Duffy, President of Greystones Group

Most everyone reading this has heard of agile software development and open source software. These concepts have been used in commercial systems for many years. What is new is the successful application of using them on federal IT projects. This implementation is described in the interview with Mary-Sara Camerino and Shelia Duffy. They discuss some of the challenges they had to overcome in organizations like Office of Naval Research and National Guard Bureau. 

Federal acquisition managers have been trained to describe a software project as a set of requirements set in stone and never changing. This may work when one is building a tank, but not when managing systems with rapidly changing content.

Mary-Sara has worked with federal acquisition professionals to help them alter the requirements gathering to a more modular approach. This focuses on important principles of agile software development, which are described in the Agile Manifesto:

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  4. Responding to change over following a plan

ARMATURE uses agile software development for completing complex data collection projects, including accreditation management for the protection of the nation’s blood supply at AABB.

John Gilroy hosts a weekly radio show on Federal News Radio, appears regularly as “The Computer Guy” on WAMU’s The Kojo Nnamdi Show, and is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. Further information about John and his thought-provoking comments on the technology industry can be found at, TechTuesdayBlog.