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Advancing Agile Adoption to Improve Management and Performance of Critical Business Systems

CLIENT STORY

Electrosoft advanced the adoption of agile methodologies, while ensuring business system compliance, for one defense agency intent on IT modernization to speed their support of the organization.

PROBLEM

A defense agency with more than 240 projects across 37 programs wanted to improve the speed and efficiency of their service delivery. They committed to replacing aging mission-critical business systems and to modernizing their IT ecosystem. Agency leaders knew they needed expert technologists to help ensure compliances and keep the team and systems “audit-ready” – especially as they moved toward an agile approach to development.

SOLUTION

The agency turned to Electrosoft for systems engineering and configuration management expertise and support. Electrosoft was responsible for guiding the program management improvements, documentation, compliance and training associated with business system improvements. The team also led change management initiatives to ensure definition and adoption of agile best practices.

Soon after the initial award, Electrosoft was inundated with near-term deadlines to review and update systems-related plans and documentation. The team stepped up, completing the work on time to support the client through multiple audits. Then, they looked for ways to improve the process to better manage resources through future demands, deadlines and best practices.

Electrosoft created a dashboard tracking all the programs, projects, systems engineering plans, frequency of updates, date of last updates and primary points of contact. The dashboard gave stakeholders across the agency instant visibility into the current status and upcoming deadlines. Electrosoft created a similar dashboard to track and manage configurations. With a variety of review cycles, evolving DOD requirements and the agency’s system modernization plan, the dashboards supported proactive management of essential work – and flagged areas for attention and escalation, when needed.

RESULTS/BENEFITS

Achieving cloud migration for systems whose codebases were initiated more than 15 years ago was one crucial step in the agency’s technology migration effort. By keeping decades of essential information accessible, Electrosoft supported the client in continuing to serve their constituents while preparing for the next steps in their digital transformation. The agency is well-positioned to reconcile the systems by adopting more COTS-based solutions that will improve how the agency delivers on its mission. In the meantime, the Electrosoft team is proud to continue supporting the client. As one agency program manager remarked of the Electrosoft team, “You are true professionals that I can count on to get the mission accomplished. Thank you for making my job easier.”

Serving as expert consultants, the Electrosoft team has been an essential guide for agency adoption of new methodologies for agile development and DevSecOps. Systems engineering and configuration management leads routinely shared best practices and recommendations for adopting an agile approach to the work. With the client approval and appreciation, the team built and revised project management tools and templates to support a shift from the traditional linear/waterfall approach to two-week sprints, so changes are implemented faster. By breaking projects down from months to weeks, the client is able to deliver end benefits to its organizational constituents faster.

With an eye on agile best practices, whenever the Electrosoft team is revising tools and templates to accommodate new DOD requirements or agency priorities, they don’t simply add new fields or more steps to the process. They identify and remove non-essential hurdles, to help ensure ease of use and compliance by individuals submitting information and moving through the processes.

In fact, Electrosoft is leading a monumental system engineering documentation conversion that will replace four standard operating procedures in the waterfall methodology to a single, 25-page desk guide. An essential reference for practitioners, the desk guide will not cover the basics of agile, which is well-documented elsewhere. Instead, it addresses how agile applies to systems engineering.

RESULTS/BENEFITS

For an agency managing tens of millions of dollars across numerous programs and projects, keeping systems, teams and documents in compliance is an essential element of its fiduciary duty to expend its resources in the best interests of our nation’s defenders – and of the American people. Today, the agency uses Electrosoft dashboards – which have been adopted by other groups – to inform decisions. Agency personnel are prepared and confident when facing audits. And as they adopt agile methodologies, the agency continues to see improved efficiencies and accelerated delivery of essentials to military personnel.

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