?Fact Sheet
Agile Development at the Department of Veterans Affairs
OVERVIEW
Over the past several years, the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a leader among government agencies in implementing agile development. VA’s success in revitalizing IT project delivery cannot be attributed to a single change, but rather
a multi-faceted approach incorporating process, policy, and people.
Agile helps VA deliver faster to meet changing needs
• Delivery before agile: 3-7 years
• Delivery requirement: 6 months
• Current average: 4.2 months
• Veterans Benefits Management System: every 90 days
Agile development is enabling VA to deliver the IT capabilities needed to deliver on our mission
Agile Development: The Methodology
The agile methodology (as opposed to the waterfall methodology) focuses on close collaboration with the customer, iterative small-chunk developments, repetitive testing and frequent releases of functionality, continuous integration and quality improvement, and on-going process improvement. The agile methodology requires functionality to be delivered every six months. The six-month increment duration means that VA either delivers quickly, or it fails quickly, preventing continued investment in projects that do not deliver.
AGILE METHODOLOGY
Incremental and iterative approach to software design Incremental deliveries (delivery every 4-6 months)
New requirements can easily be adapted to meet new and evolving requirements
Schedules and budgets are harder to predict
Contract for the increment
Collaboration with customers throughout the project (Integrated Project Team (IPT))
WATERFALL METHODOLOGY
Linear model for software design
One time delivery (delivery after 4 years or later) Requirements are defined at the start of the project
Schedules and budgets are estimated based off the Project Plan
Contract for the project
Customer interaction at the beginning and end of the project
Project Management Accountability System (PMAS): The Framework
PMAS is the disciplined data-driven approach VA utilizes to support on-time delivery of IT capabilities. PMAS requires VA IT projects to use the agile methodology, giving new functionality to end users every six months or less. PMAS also fosters a culture of accountability, in which project managers are accountable for meeting cost, schedule, and scope goals, and senior leaders are accountable for eliminating any obstacles which may prevent on-time delivery. Prior to 2009, VA only delivered about a third of its IT projects; however, since implementing PMAS, VA now delivers over two thirds of its projects on time. Moreover, since 2009, more than 97 percent of VA IT projects have delivered overall. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report 14-361 indicated that VA was the only agency to implement agile development methodology fully.
Resources
VA makes all of its process artifacts – process maps, guidance, etc. – available on its website. Visit www.voa.va.gov/DocumentView. aspx?DocumentID=223
Delivered
Not Delivered
Before 2009
Success Success after
Intervention
Failed
2009 Agile Pilot
Not Delivered
Today
Interested in implementing PMAS at your organization? Visit www.voa.va.gov/pmas
Published on: 10/20/2014
Office of Public Affairs Media Relations
Washington, DC 20420
(202) 461-7600 | www.va.gov
Delivered On Time

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