DIB Guidance for Detecting "Fake" Agile

The US Department of Defense’s Defense Innovation Board (DIB) has released a clever and insightful guide titled “DIB Guide: Detecting Agile BS”. While we withhold judgment of their choice to use “BS” in a government-issued guide, we found a number of interesting points worth sharing.

These items may be of particular interest to organizations seeking to transition from Waterfall to Agile, are in the midst of the transition, or have fully adopted some version of Agile.

Source:  DIB Guide: Detecting Agile BS Version 0.4, last modified 3 Oct 2018

Source: DIB Guide: Detecting Agile BS Version 0.4, last modified 3 Oct 2018


Recommendations quoted from the Guide…

“Key flags that a project is not really agile:

  • Nobody on the software development team is talking with and observing the users of the software in action; we mean the actual users of the actual code. The Program Executive Office (PEO) does not count as an actual user, nor does the commanding officer, unless she uses the code.

  • Continuous feedback from users to the development team (bug reports, users assessments) is not available. Talking once at the beginning of a program to verify requirements doesn’t count!

  • Meeting requirements is treated as more important than getting something useful into the field as quickly as possible.

  • Stakeholders (development, test, ops, security, contracting, contractors, end-users, etc.) are acting more-or-less autonomously (e.g. ‘it’s not my job.’)

  • End users of the software are missing-in-action throughout development; at a minimum they should be present during Release Planning and User Acceptance Testing.

  • DevSecOps culture is lacking if manual processes are tolerated when such processes can and should be automated (e.g. automated testing, continuous integration, continuous delivery).”

About the DIB

The mission of the Defense Innovation Board is to provide the Secretary of Defense, Deputy Secretary of Defense, and other senior leaders across the Department with independent advice and recommendations on innovative means to address future challenges through the prism of three focus areas: people and culture, technology and capabilities, and practices and operations. Learn more at: https://innovation.defense.gov/

Additional Reading

Forbes Magazine: How Fake Agile At DoD Risks National Security, Sep 22, 2019

APG Blog