Agile Profile is a regular feature profiling leaders in agile government.
Adam J. Martin
Director of Technology & Innovation
Broadcasting Board of Governors
What does Agile mean to you?
It’s both a culture and a practice. As a practice, doing agile means taking a team-based, iterative approach at delivering on time functional, viable products that are of the most value to our clients and customers. To enable such a beautiful thing to blossom requires putting together the right team of doers and makers, having open communication regularly between the team and product owners, and paying attention to quality first and foremost … that’s all the culture part.
What led you to adopting Agile?
A strong desire to deliver better products in less time and provide greater value to our audiences.
What did you do to get buy-in from your department/agency?
We were very fortunate to have strong support from our executive leadership to create an office with a specific mandate to drive adoption of new methodologies to help ignite innovation within the agency.
Did you see positive results immediately or did it take time?
It took time!
What challenges did you face, and how did you overcome them?
Cultural, organizational, resource constraints, need for training at all levels and for all agile team members and stakeholders.
What resources/assets do you have to support your Agile efforts?
Formal training, collaboration software, whiteboards and stickies!
What problem does Agile solve for your organization? Culture? Delivery? Product?
Delivery and product initially, and culture is starting to change as a bi-product.
What resources do you recommend to government leaders who want to get started with Agile?
Smart people who can help make things.
Were there special procurement rules that were needed or modified for an Agile project?
Yes and no. Don’t contract projects with requirements. Contract for individuals with the skills your agile team needs.
Do you follow a specific framework like Scrum or Kanban?
Do you have a designated project (or product) owner?
Are your product owners dedicated full-time, part-time, or some combination depending on the project?
Both. Depends on the project.
What length were your sprints when you were initially implementing Agile?
What size are your development teams?
Four to six.
What, if any, type of Agile training did you offer your employees?
Formal on-site as a team/teams and ormal off-site for specific roles (i.e., product manager, scrum master)
What aspect of Agile have you either gotten better at with time or has been the most valuable to your team?
Writing and estimating stories and related sub/team tasks. Prioritizing stories to deliver the most value in the shortest time.