Lesson 4: Agile Procurement, Communication, and Modernization 2017-07-13T17:01:37-08:00

AGL Academy

A community effort by Agile government professionals to help educate and empower
those who seek to implement Agile processes into their own agencies

Agile for the Government Executive

Lesson 4: Agile Procurement, Communication, and Modernization

Your goal as an agile Executive is to understand recent trends for procuring agile services in government, measure and improve the modernity of your organization, and facilitate productive communication.

This lesson contains resources that will help you understand the lay of the land, so you will be armed to intelligently discuss the latest trends computer technology and software methodology with other executives, program managers, technology officers and contract officers. You will also understand how you, as an Executive, can facilitate the success of your teams and get more done by asking Agile questions and focusing on communication.


  • Read all items on reading list (share what you’ve learned with team members!)
  • Watch video
  • Complete “Modernity Checklist”
  • You’re done!

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The encasement strategy: on legacy systems and the importance of APIs
A discussion of rewriting legacy software systems — and why you should. (Study time: 20 min)

Digital Services Playbook
Explore the advice from USDS about the key “plays” to providing excellent digital services. (Study Time: 45 minutes)

Announcing the Agile BPA awards: A conversation about the process
18F leaders show how they worked with the Federal Acquisition Service and agile vendors to pioneer the process of an Agile Blanket Purchase Agreement. (Study time: 15 minutes)

How to use more open source in your next federal IT acquisition
Open source software provides huge opportunities for anyone building an IT project. Discover how to use it securely and effectively. (Study Time: 45 minutes)

The People’s Code
The White House released the Federal Source Code Policy to make it easier for agencies to access and use custom software code built for government. (Study Time: 15 minutes)

Agile procurement and using agile in legacy environments
Agile executives must think about procurement differently, and figure out how to practice agile in legacy environments that are not of their own making. (Study time: 15 minutes)


Agile government with USCIS CIO Mark Schwartz
Mark Schwartz shares his experiences and advice about agile from the perspective of a federal executive.
(Study time: 1 hour)

Modernity Checklist

The 2017 Modernity Checklist represents practices and techniques which we believe have stood the test of time. These should be considered for adoption by every modern government software organization. Evaluate your own organization against this checklist and perform the exercises listed with it.


  • Can you explain the “Encasement” or “Strangler” strategy and how it is useful in rebuilding legacy systems?
  • Can you name 3 ways that agile procurement differs from traditional procurement?
  • Can you explain some advantages of using open source code in IT projects?
  • Can you hold a discussion with a colleague about the 13 plays in the Digital Service Playbook?
  • Do you understand the concepts / tools listed in the Modernity Checklist, and can you talk intelligently about how your agency might implement them?

Congratulations, you’ve completed Agile for the Government Executive!

If you completed all the exercises and materials in this course, you are familiar with all the concepts you need as an Agile Executive.

Once your agency begins to reap the benefits of Agile, you’ll likely want to continue studying and pursuing this methodology that allows governments to bring delightful, effective services to citizens and customers.


We would love to learn how we can make this course better. Your feedback is welcome!

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