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Government [clear filter]
Monday, August 3


Government Product Owner: What to expect when they’re expecting (Salah Elleithy, Darren Hoevel)
Limited Capacity seats available

What is the product owner role? Is it different in the federal space and the commercial space? What are the challenges that the PO face? If we were to define a PO persona, what would it look like? Does a conventional PO role work in the government? What changes are needed to enable the PO in the government? How would the PO role apply in the government settings? Does the organizational structure affect the PO role?
The product owner role is one of the most demanding and critical roles on agile projects. The PO is engaged with the stakeholders (those who will be impacted by the product) as well as the development (delivery) team (those who will be delivering the product).
The PO drives the vision of what needs to be built. The PO describes the vision to the team that is translated into chunks of value (or user stories) that makes up the Product backlog (a “to do” list of what needs to be built). The team works with the PO to clarify questions. Once the team build a chunk of value, they demonstrate it to the PO who then accept it or provide feedback that then get translated into more user stories.
Common challenges include: proxy PO, part time PO, supporting multiple teams, misconceptions of the PO role and limited empowerment among other challenges.
In this session, Salah and Darren will share stories about the challenges of the PO role in the government, explore different approaches through a collaborative session that will give participants ideas on what to look for to make the PO role successful in the government.
Learning Outcomes:
  • * Understand the roles and responsibilities of the Product Owner
  • * Define a persona for Product Owner
  • * Explore different ways of applying Product Ownership in the government space

avatar for Salah Elleithy

Salah Elleithy

Agile Coach, SparkAgility
I am a Leadership, Co-Active, Agile Coach and Learning Facilitator on a mission to spark courageous curiosity with a twist of play. I help individuals, teams and leaders learn faster and become better one day at a time. I am also passionate about helping individuals, teams and leaders... Read More →
avatar for Darren Hoevel

Darren Hoevel

President, Agilist, Pliant Solutions
Darren Hoevel is a passionate Agile realist, organizational change advocate, corporate cultural renovator, customer ambassador and founder of Pliant Solutions. He is driven by transforming organizations into self-managing, self-organizing teams with high morale. Darren prides himself... Read More →

Monday August 3, 2015 10:45 - 12:00
Chesapeake 1/2/3


A Leaner PMO in the Federal Government (Fadi Stephan)
Limited Capacity seats available

Can a federal agency’s PMO support Agile teams that are focused on delivering working software frequently? What about all the needed documentation, reviews, and sign-offs from a myriad of groups including systems engineering, privacy, PRA and cyber security? In this session we’ll look at a federal agency’s PMO processes and the concept of minimum viable bureaucracy. We’ll explore the roles and relationship between the PMO, PM, Product Owner, ScrumMaster, and team. We’ll see how projects get initiated and the decision criteria needed to start or defer a project. We’ll walk through a lightweight gate review process and the activities and deliverables of each phase. We’ll also see how gate reviews can co-exists with a continuous delivery pipeline. We’ll share lessons learned and take a look at the challenges ahead. Come to this session to see how a lean PMO is operating in a Federal Agency.
Learning Outcomes:
  • * How a PMO can support Agile Teams
  • * Relationship between PMO, PM, PO, SM, and team
  • * Light-weight gate review process in a federal PMO
  • * Gate reviews and continuous delivery

avatar for Fadi Stephan

Fadi Stephan

Consultant, Excella
Fadi Stephan is a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST), Agile coach, and consultant with Washington DC-based Excella Consulting. Fadi has more than fifteen years of professional experience as a product manager, project manager, software developer, ScrumMaster and consultant at both Federal... Read More →

Monday August 3, 2015 14:00 - 15:15
National Harbor 6/7


Agency and Department Adoption of Agile: Lessons Learned and Recommendations (Joshua Seckel, Jerry Frese)
Limited Capacity seats available

Providing an overview of agile implementation within several government agencies and provide lessons learned and recommendations from that experience. This will include personal experience with DHS, IRS, USCIS, DNDO and other agencies in their agile journey. The agile journey has been different for each of these organizations and some have been more successful at adopting the agile mindset. We will draw on our personal experiences with these adoptions to make recommendations for agency wide adoption of agile practices and mindsets.
We will provide recommendations for cultural alignment, technical adoption, governance and oversight for agencies looking to transform the way that IT is delivered within their organization. We will also comment on different options for contractor and federal employee roles and interactions that make adoption and success more likely.
Learning Outcomes:
  • Learn what has and has not worked within federal agencies adopting agile
  • Learn what lessons should and can be applied to a federal agency looking to adopt agile
  • Governance models that work inside of a federal agency for agile programs


Jerry Frese

Program And Management Analyst, IRS
Jerome (Jerry) Frese a Program Management Analyst at the Internal Revenue Service, is the organizer of an Inter-Agency Seminar whose purpose is to bring federal SDLC practitioners together so they can establish a network, learn about and share best practices and collaborate on new... Read More →
avatar for Joshua Seckel

Joshua Seckel

Specialist leader, Deloitte
Come talk to me about any and all parts of agile transformation at the Deloitte booth or in my session or around the conference!

Monday August 3, 2015 15:45 - 17:00
Chesapeake 1/2/3
Tuesday, August 4


Agile White House: How the TechFAR & Digital Services Playbook are Transforming Government (Aaron Pava)
Limited Capacity seats available

The White House recently launched the United States Digital Service to deliver “customer-focused government through smarter IT.” As part of this announcement the Office of Management and Budget released the Digital Services Playbook and an accompanying TechFAR Handbook "for procuring digital services using Agile Processes,” making it easier for government agencies to buy and implement Agile.
In this session, participants will understand the history, intentions and key components of these documents, and have a deeper understanding on how to bringing Agile into government agencies.
Learning Outcomes:
  • A history of government Agile directives
  • Understanding the objectives behind the new TechFAR Handbook & Digital Services Playbook
  • Practical implementation techniques for procuring and implementing Agile within federal government agencies

avatar for Aaron Pava

Aaron Pava

Co-Founder, CivicActions

Tuesday August 4, 2015 10:45 - 12:00
National Harbor 13


Agile Data Warehousing/Business Intelligence: A Disciplined Approach (Scott Ambler)
Limited Capacity seats available

Agile strategies are being applied on more-and-more data warehouse (DW)/business intelligence (BI) projects within government agencies than ever before. The heavy, serial, long-running traditional approaches of yesteryear are being cautiously abandoned for the lighter, collaborative, incremental approaches resulting from agile and lean thinking. But how does this work in practice? Agile strategies call into question virtually every single practice that the data community holds dear, and are often at odds with existing IT governance strategies, so how are agencies reconciling this in practice?
This presentation overviews both an agile and a lean strategy for teams developing a DW/BI solution. These strategies are based on a tailoring of the Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) and Data Vault 2.0 (DV2) frameworks. We begin with a review of the differences between the traditional and agile ways of thinking, what the implications are for your organization, and how this can impact government agencies in the process of moving towards more agile ways of working. We then overview two lifecycles for DW/BI development, a Scrum-based agile strategy for the first release of a DW/BI solution and a lean Kanban-based strategy for future releases. Strategies for successfully initiating an agile DW/BI team will be covered, including how to weave user stories, agile data modelling, agile architectural modelling, and light-weight release planning together. A collection of agile database techniques will be overviewed, including agile data modelling, database testing, database refactoring, continuous database integration, and DV2 design strategies. The presentation ends with a summary of the people, process, and tooling challenges that you will face when transitioning to an agile approach on your DW/BI teams.
Learning Outcomes:
  • Discover why an agile/lean approach to DW/BI is preferred
  • Learn how successfully initiate an agile DW/BI team
  • Learn how to take agile and lean approaches to DW/BI development
  • Discover a collection of agile development practices for DW/BI teams

avatar for Scott Ambler

Scott Ambler

Senior Consulting Partner, Disciplined Agile, Inc.
Scott is a Senior Consulting Partner of Scott Ambler + Associates, working with organizations around the world to help them to improve their software processes. He provides training, coaching, and mentoring in disciplined agile and lean strategies at both the project and organizational... Read More →

Tuesday August 4, 2015 15:45 - 17:00
Potomac D
Wednesday, August 5


Agile Planning and Estimating Techniques in a Federal World (Brandon Raines, Edric Spruill)
Limited Capacity seats available

The government is seeing the merit of using agile practices to develop software. However, the fallacy that you can’t estimate projects using agile in the government still exist. The result is that many projects that want to use Agile begin in a very waterfall way developing the initial plan and are forced to stick to that plan throughout the project despite using sprints throughout the ‘development phase’. Many falsely believe they are stuck in the tradition of estimating everything in the beginning. During this presentation, through lecture and based upon real experiences, we will demonstrate techniques for developing a project plan and estimating techniques to satisfy the typical government compliance requirements using Agile practices and principles. Hear from a Government Division Manager who implemented these techniques within his Division. In essence, we will together learn how to build the bridge from the traditional government practices to a brave new world where we can plan, estimate and still inject agility.
Learning Outcomes:
  • Explain the different levels of planning and how each level serves its purpose
  • Demonstrate estimating techniques at each level of planning
  • Demonstrate Agile planning and estimating techniques to answer typical government control gates and milestones without losing agility
  • Demonstrate techniques to track your estimates
  • What to track? What not to track?
  • Demonstrate techniques to track your budget against the value being incrementally delivered


Brandon Raines

Over a career spanning 15+ years, Brandon has been a developer, tester, project manager, architect, certfied scrum master, certified scrum practitioner and agile coach. Mr. Raines has helped teams mainly in the federal government as an Certified Scrum Coach(CSC) in their transition... Read More →

Edric Spruill

Dr., US Government
Dr. Spruill has taught at several colleges and universities over the last several years to include Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Salem International University as well as other institutions. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he is a retired United States Army First... Read More →

Wednesday August 5, 2015 10:45 - 12:00
Potomac C


Waterfall comfort in an agile world: Give Federal Execs the answers they 'used to get' (John Hughes)
Limited Capacity seats available

Your effective agile program can go downhill fast even in the most progressive Federal organization if executive leadership begins to think that the answers they used to get in the "Waterfall world" are no longer available to them in an agile world. Federal Executives have elevated reporting responsibilities and need to answer to the public, sometimes even to Congress itself, therefore pressures are high for proper communication flow. Don’t let your program get to the point where “agile just doesn’t work for us.”
Requirements such as the OMB Exhibit 300 which updates the Federal IT Dashboard and Earned Value Management which is required for larger IT efforts put pressure on Federal executives. They understood how to request the information they needed before going agile, and their teams knew how to get it to them. Agile teams typically no longer create fully resourced project schedules, Gantt charts, and comprehensive requirements documents. Leadership gets frustrated when they can’t get a “straight answer” to questions they are used to having answered such as “what is the project schedule’s critical path showing,” or “are we staffed properly to complete all the remaining requirements by the end of the contract.”
The answers are still there and the information is still available but the tools and methods by which we produce this information are now different. We need to be able to translate the questions being asked and help Federal executives understand how to better ask the questions to get what they are really looking for. Learn how to extract the necessary information from our agile toolset (Roadmap and Backlog, Velocity, Burndowns, User Stories, etc.) to give our Federal executives what they need to be successful meeting the myriad requirements applied to Federal IT programs.
The goal for this session is to provide you the tools you need to continue giving your Federal executives what they need to manage and report on their programs effectively. You will gain insight into what is required of Federal IT programs and therefore what is really being asked, and to help your leadership better ask the questions “in an agile way” so that you may deliver impactful answers derived from our agile tools. You will understand how our agile tools are used and combined to provide the same answers the "Waterfall tools" used to provide Federal organizations. You will go back able to save your agile project from potential doom in the hands of executives under pressure to report against practices they no longer understand.
Learning Outcomes:
  • The goal for this session is to provide you the tools you need to continue to give your Federal Executives what they need to manage and report on their programs effectively. You will gain insight into what is required of Federal IT programs and therefore what is really being asked, and to help your leadership better ask the questions “in an agile way” so that you may deliver impactful answers derived from our agile toolset. You will understand how our agile tools are used and combined to provide the same answers the "Waterfall tools" used to provide Federal organizations.
  • Besides putting you in your customer or leader's shoes for a moment, this session will also strengthen your knowledge of our agile toolset, metrics, and practices as well as how they tie together to give essential program information in the Federal space.

avatar for John Hughes

John Hughes

Strategist, Blackstone Technology Group
John Hughes is an Agile Coach with Blackstone Technology Group's Federal Practice. He has developed and delivered solutions in the Federal IT space for over 17 years.

Wednesday August 5, 2015 10:45 - 12:00
National Harbor 3
Thursday, August 6


Agile @ OPM: Stakeholder Collaboration and Individual Interactions (Richard Cheng, Bridget Dongarra)
Limited Capacity seats available

USA Staffing is the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's hiring software solution for Federal agencies. USA Staffing positions agencies to acquire, assess, certify, select, and onboard qualified candidates precisely, efficiently and cost-effectively. It provides the up-to-date tools agencies need for strengthening the foundation of great government - your workforce. Created by OPM and based on the experience of more than 50 Federal agencies, USA Staffing is an off-the-shelf software solution for automating staffing and assessment. It combines core and advanced features in a user-friendly, web-enabled software solution. USA Staffing is compliant with Federal hiring regulations and meets Federal Information Technology (IT) security requirements.
- http://www.opm.gov/services-for-agencies/technology-systems/usa-staffing/
As the program that addresses the hiring of nearly all Federal employees, the USA Staffing program in a major program in the US Federal government. Starting with one Scrum team in August of 2012 to using Agile across all the program teams, the USA Staffing program is committed to Agile concepts and methods as it rebuilds and updates the USA Staffing IT systems.
In looking at key lessons learned during this transformation, the biggest steps in enabling results was to maximize two of the Agile values in a government context:
1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools and
2. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.
In Federal programs, these principles are often overlooked, but with the USA Staffing program, there was a concentrated focus to enable these principles. This created great collaborative working relationships with the USA Staffing stakeholders and customers and enabled a collaborative and self organizing culture across the distributed teams on the USA Staffing program.
Through lecture, group discussions and Q&A, this session will offer practical techniques for cultivating an Agile work environment in government when teams are organizationally and geographically separated. We will also detail how we worked with customer and stakeholder organizations to help them adapt to a rapid development cycle.
This session is presented by Bridget Dongarra, a Federal employee and Product Owner on the USA Staffing program and by Richard Cheng, an Agile coach and Trainer. Bridget will bring the Federal perspective into the session while Richard will help address Agile specific nuances in the Agile @ OPM implementation.

Learning Outcomes:
  • Techniques for cultivating collaborative work environments and supporting self-organizing teams
  • Opportunities and challenges transitioning teams from waterfall to Agile methods
  • Techniques for cultivating stakeholders and customer buy in for an Agile transformation

avatar for Richard Cheng

Richard Cheng

Director of Training, Excella
Richard Cheng is a Principal consultant at Excella Consulting, providing consulting services to commercial and Federal clients in the Washington, DC area. Richard trains, coaches, and mentors clients in understanding and implementing Agile and Scrum. Richard also leads Excella's Training... Read More →
avatar for Bridget Dongarra

Bridget Dongarra

Supervisory Program Analyst, US Office of Personnel Management
I work for the US Office of Personnel Management. Talk to me about Agile in Government, Product Ownership, Agile Program Management, and HR. We manage a hiring software program (by Government, for Government!) that handles the majority of Federal Civilian hiring - and we're... Read More →

Thursday August 6, 2015 10:45 - 12:00
Potomac 1/2/3


How to SWITCH to Agile in the Federal Landscape (James Barclay, Jon Ruark)
Limited Capacity seats available

The White House has recognized the need for change in the federal government in order to efficiently address advancing technologies and to deliver value to customers by taking advantage of those new technologies. This modernization in the way the government develops software will provide efficiencies in the long term. The effort to realize those efficiencies will require a significant shift in culture from traditional waterfall development to a culture of agile development; which will result in saving time, resources, and most importantly, delivering value to the end- user.
Our agency has been in the process of transitioning away from the traditional waterfall development for the past 24 months. In our experience, the adoption of agile is not as simple as choosing a framework and immediately executing it. The challenges we face are not inconsequential and need to be addressed. These challenges include:
• Shifting toward a culture of urgency, accountability, and value
• Servant leadership & management support
• Change management
• Lean-Agile budgeting and estimation
• The dangers of up-front requirements
• Participation and collaboration in traditionally stove-piped organizations
As is described in the book “Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard,” knowledge is not enough to change behavior. Therefore, knowledge alone of an agile framework is not enough to transition away from a deep seeded foundation of inefficiencies and bureaucratic behavior. Agile is a new destination, and you need to determine how you are going to reach that destination. It is as if you have a vehicle, a map, and the organizational challenge to convince everyone that the trip is worth the effort. Understanding the inherent challenges within the government, communicating those challenges, and sharing those experiences and results, are all part of that journey.
OCC Approved 2-19-2015 C15-234
Learning Outcomes:
  • At the end of this presentation, the audience will:
  • Be able to identify near-term, end-state, and transitional activities to ensure a successful transition to Agile
  • Gain knowledge from the presenter’s past experiences navigating the governmental landscape
  • Gain additional insight into where the federal government is heading and how to support it in its transition
  • Have key takeaways to ensure that not only the logical needs, but more importantly the emotional needs of government leaders and practitioners are addressed
  • Learn that “Being Agile” is not the same as transitioning to an agile enterprise

avatar for James Barclay

James Barclay

Sr. System Engineer, NGA
avatar for Jon Ruark

Jon Ruark

Director of Strategic Operations, TRIAEM LLC
SPC, CSPO. I'm a fan of Agile values for everything. Ask me how you can do anything using Agile!

Thursday August 6, 2015 15:45 - 17:00
National Harbor 12