How 18F is helping SSA go Agile

Social Security AdministrationRobert Read of 18F
tells the story of how his team worked with the Social Security Administration for one morning of intensely focused Agile development. With no previous Agile experience, the agency team was exploring uncharted territory, but the workshop was a success thanks to the spirit of collaboration and dedication brought by SSA team members.

From the article:

“We were going to organize our work into stories written on 3×5 Post-it notes. Every story is a promise to have a conversation. The developers and the product owners would cooperate to produce estimates in “minutes” because the workshop was so short. The product team would accept the stories or send them back at the demos.

. . .

The SSA had done one of the most important things that an agency can do: They had the actual end-users in the room. This is the famous “have the customers in the room.”

. . .

People were becoming familiar with the process now. I could almost see light bulbs flashing over people’s heads — the excitement was that palpable. The developers and customers were talking on their own in too many conversations for us to follow.

. . .

The three one-hour sprints the SSA team performed are some of the hardest three hours — and the most rewarding — that a software team will ever work. We sat in the odd glow of exhaustion and exhilaration as we began the retrospective.

. . .

This workshop was Agile software development at its best: A cross-functional team cooperating to produce something that end-users really want as rapidly as possible by valuing individuals and interactions, working software, customer collaboration, and responding to change.”

Be inspired by the full story: A Story of an Agile Workshop | 18F

2017-04-23T23:02:59-08:00 March 9th, 2015|Categories: Agile government, Federal, Social Security Administration|Tags: , |

About the Author:

AGL served the government innovation community from 2014 - 2020. It has now broadened its mission and community to form a new organization, Technologists for the Public Good. Learn more and get involved at

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