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Q&A with Eric Ferraro about the IAE and Agile

Read our Q&A with IAE Assistant Commissioner Eric Ferraro about the IAE's move to Agile development. The Industry Day 10 post is also available for download at the end of this post.

 

Eric Ferraro, IAE assistant commissioner, took some time to sit down for a Q&A about Agile development and the Integrated Award Environment (IAE) after Industry Day 10 on March 9, 2016.

Here’s the interview:

At what stage of Agile maturity do you think IAE is at right now?

Since we have not yet put anything into production, we are surely at the earliest stage of maturity for the Common Services Platform. We have not yet conducted an assessment of our maturity using an Agile Maturity Model, but we plan to do so.
 

If one wanted to use the Scrum Alliance Maturity Level Table  and assess against those criteria:
 

Innovative -- Greater than or equal to 4

Adaptive -- Greater than or equal to 3, and Less than 4

Operating -- Greater than or equal to 2, less than 3

Emerging -- Greater than or equal to 1, less than 2

Developing -- Less than 1
 

We are most likely between Developing and Emerging but certainly not yet matured teams overall.

What Agile tools does IAE use?  

The Common Services Platform uses over thirty tools, one of which is Atlassian JIRA. We recently have been considering AgileCraft.

What kind of Agile training has IAE had?

We contracted with CC Pace to conduct a customized Agile Project Management training initially to level set the Agile terminology and thinking across our full staff. We subsequently followed that with Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) training to again level set Agile across our staff. Beyond that, IAE staff takes a range of Agile training offerings on an individual basis.

How many Agile teams do you have working now?

We have four teams with a fifth team onboarding and a sixth team pending a contract award.  

Where is IAE in regard to forming/storming/norming/performing?

In the forming and storming stage. The storming across teams may well be due to focusing on process over people. We need to focus on how teams come together with different experiences, often with different heritages/international languages/cultures, to build trust in person.

How much of IAE's Agile work is done remotely through distributed teams and teleworking?

While it is the policy of GSA to encourage teleworking and we do, we have found that to accelerate trust and work solutions through complex issues, that face to face dry runs, war rooms and other in person gatherings are critical.  Of course our two-day Release Planning requires all hands in person. A key Agile principle states "The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation." We fully agree and encourage that.

Please leave an additional questions about Agile development and the IAE in the comments or email them to iaeoutreach@gsa.gov.

The Slide deck from Industry Day 10 is available for download at the end of this post.

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