Do you suspect that your company’s commitment to agile consists of jargon and sloganeering, as opposed to actual organizational and cultural change? Then you would do well to refer to this pamphlet on Detecting Agile BS (pdf) produced by the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Defense Innovation Advisory Board (DIB) in October of 2018. The DIB established itself to bring the best practices and innovations of Silicon Valley to DoD software development. The pamphlet was the result of luminaries such as Eric Schmidt, Reid Hoffman, and Neil deGrasse Tyson coming together turning their gimlet eye towards true agile practices in DoD software development.
I’ve excerpted some interesting parts of the pamphlet below and tied in some of my perspectives based on my current TeraThink project at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Full disclosure: TeraThink is a for-profit company, and as such is not 100%-free of BS. However, I like to think we have less BS than most. I’ll detail why through highlighting key flags that a projects is not truly agile.
Today is the 10th annual Ada Lovelace Day. It is a day to take time to recognize the accomplishments of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The goal is to increase the visibility of women in STEM in order to create role models for future generations of STEM professionals.
Here at TeraThink, we have no shortage of role models. We wanted to shine the spotlight some of them. I asked them to share how they got started in the technology field and any inspirations they had.
I’ve been speaking a lot about content services of late. At TeraThink, we are a big believer that good content services are a solid foundation for excellent user experience. This is why I’ve been focused on dispelling some of the hype around content services. One of the reasons I, and TeraThink, have been trying to push past the hype is because we are actively using content services to deliver solutions at scale.
Along the way, we’ve been trying to share some of our lessons. James Fintel shared what we’ve learned about building content services agilely using Kanban. What I wanted to share was some of our lessons on the delivery of content services to a government agency.
In 2014, the White House issued a Presidential Memorandum on Modernizing and Streamlining the U.S. Immigrant Visa System for the 21st Century. It called for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of State (DoS) to streamline and improve the legal immigration system. Specifically, it spells out the need to :
Modernize the information technology infrastructure underlying the visa processing system with the goal to reduce redundant systems, improve the experience of applicants, and enable better oversight.
As part of our ongoing support of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), TeraThink was engaged to implement a digital solution to automate USCIS’ implementation. The solution required integration not only with USCIS’ own internal modernization program, but also that of other Federal agencies. We took an API first approach, using MuleSoft to orchestrate all the interactions between the different players. The end result was a successful launch and the creation of a new content services foundation for USCIS.
TeraThink won the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Office of Information Technology (OIT) IT Professional Services contract. Under this new contract, TeraThink will provide a full range of innovative business and systems support, as well as program management support to three major OIT Divisions through November 2014.
At U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Office of Information Technology, TeraThink was awarded a prime contract for Information Technology Professional Services (ITPS). The work being performed under ITPS supports three USCIS Divisions: 1) System Engineering Division (SED), 2) End User Services (EUS) Division and 3) Enterprise Infrastructure Division (EID) in the following task areas:
Task 1: Planning Support
Task 2: Systems Development Support
Task 3: Document IT Support
Task 4: Systems Deployment Support
Task 5: SharePoint Support
Task 6: Program Management Support
Task 7: Test and Evaluation