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 DoD Agile Development 


 Lean, Incremental, Collaborative and Continuous 

Event Number



 12/14/2010  to 12/14/2010 


 Hilton Alexandria Mark Center 


 Betsy Lauer, [email protected] 


About This Event

The DoD is developing a comprehensive new process to acquire and deliver IT capabilities.  Central to this new process is agile development of software.

DoD cannot hope to achieve state of the art information capabilities using the traditional DoD acquisition process.  New approaches require new principles, such as:

  • Speed and Agility
  • Incremental Development and Testing  
  • Rationalized Requirements
  • Flexible/Tailored Acquisitions

Agile methods embrace these principles and are gaining momentum in DoD, both in infrastructure and application development.  Agility provides increased opportunity for innovation, and innovation results in better capabilities with quicker delivery and lower cost.

This conference examines the agile model, who is using it, why it is being adopted, and how to incorporate it into DoD programs. 

  "In a recent survey, 35% of surveyed organizations described their primary development method as Agile; Scrum, at 11%, was the most popular Agile development approach...

- Excerpt from: The Forrester Wave™: Agile Development Management Tools, May 5, 2010


The March 2009 Defense Science Board Task Force report and the 2010 NDAA Section 804 both recognized that information technology can and must be acquired in a different manner than we currently use.

NDAA Section 804 requires a new DOD IT acquisition process that includes:

  • early and continual involvement of the user;
  • multiple, rapidly executed increments or releases of capability;
  • successive prototyping to support an evolutionary approach; and
  • modular, open-systems.

These attributes also generally describe agile development; which is collaborative, iterative, more spiral in nature.  Agile aligns well with the requirements for a new DoD IT acquisition process, offering a viable alternative to traditional processes.




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The Program

  DoD Keynote
Honorable Eleizabeth McGrath

Honorable Elizabeth A. McGrath,
Deputy Chief Management Officer, Performance Improvement Officer, Department of Defense

Ms. McGrath leads the Department’s effort to better synchronize, integrate, and coordinate DoD business operations and s is focused on achieving increased efficiency, greater effectiveness, and improved performance in the Department’s enterprise policies, processes, and systems. 

Honorable Elizabeth A. McGrath Bio

 8:45 AM Industry Keynote
Scott Ambler

Scott W. Ambler,
Practice Leader, Agile Development, IBM

Scott is the author of several books focused on the Unified process, Agile software development, the Unified Modeling Language, and CMM-based development. He is a Fellow of the International Association of Software Architects, an Eclipse Process Framework (EPF) committer, and a Jolt Judge at the Jolt Awards.

Scott W. Ambler Bio

9:30 AM

Networking Break
10:00 AM

The DoD Enterprise Environment for Agile

Moderator: Dave Mihelcic, Chief Technology Officer, DISA

Delivering capabilities to users in new ways requires new development processes supported by new infrastructure capabilities.  As policies promoting new methods are written these new infrastructure capabilities are already being deployed.  This panel addresses organizational deployment of agile methods, the evolving infrastructure necessary for innovation, and the challenges of agile testing in the DoD environment.

Infrastructure That Supports Agile
Dave Mihelcic, Chief Technology Officer, DISA

Deploying Agile in TRANSCOM
Rory Kinney, Enterprise Chief Architect, USTRANSCOM

DT, OT, Deployment: Test-driven Development in DoD
Dr. Steve Hutchinson, Test and Evaluation Executive, DISA

DoD Storferont - Daniel Risacher, Associate Director for Information Policy and Integration, ODCIO, DoD

11:30 AM


AFEI Excellence in Enterprise Integration Awards Luncheon

Presentation of AFEI Awards followed by time to visit displays

1:00 PM

Getting Agile: Lessons From the Field

Moderator:  Mike Kochanik, Collabnet

Applying agile methods within the framework of DoD acquisition process and regulations presents significant challenges.  This panel is composed of DoD projects and programs that have applied agile methods.  Panelists pass on the lessons they have learned along the way and answer questions about how, and why, they got started with agile.  Particular emphasis is placed on FAR and DoD -5000 issues, governance, process flow and business issues.  Projects represented are:

Patriot Excalibur, Kelly Goshorn, Program Manager and James Boston, Development Team Lead, 46TW, AFMC

Acquisition Visibility Enterprise, Mark Krzysko, Deputy Director, Enterprise Information and Office, Secretary of Defense Studies 

Distributed Agile Development in a Service Oriented Environment, Pat Benito, Lead Information Systems Engineer, MITRE

Mobile Field Kit – Radiation, MAJ Marc Franciszkowicz, Nuclear Detection Technologies, DTRA

2:30 PM

Networking Break
3:00 PM

Enterprise Services – Infrastructure and Applications

Moderator: John Scott, Radiant Blue

This panel examines new DoD infrastructure capabilities and emerging application development environments.  It focuses on how they combine to create unprecedented opportunities for innovation in capability delivery based on agile methods.

Rapid Access Computing Environment – Infrastructure as a Service
Wayne Farmer, RACE Program Manager, DISA – Collaborative Development Environment
Robert Vietmeyer, Project Director

4:00 PM Ask the Experts Panel

Moderator: Chris Gunderson, Research Associate Professor, Department of Information Science, Graduate School of Operational and Information Sciences, NPS

This session brings agile development experts on-stage to field audience questions regarding agile and its applications. Panelists include:

Guy Martin, Lead Community Manager,  Collabnet

Nate McKie, CTO, Asynchrony Solutions

Richard K. Cheng, PMP, CSP,  Agile Center of Excellence, Excella Consulting

Tracy Morgan, VP, MTCSC

Stosh Misiaszek, Major Accounts Manager, Rally Software

5:30 PM Adjourn


Hilton Alexandria Mark Center
5000 Seminary Road
Alexandria, VA 22311

Self parking is available at $7.00 per car.



Hilton Alexandria Mark Center
5000 Seminary Road
Alexandria, VA 22311

A limited number of sleeping rooms are available at the current rate of $189, plus taxes, until November 13, 2010. Ask for the Association for Enterprise Information group rate. After November 13, reservations will be subject to hotel availability and prevailing rates.



On-Line registration is now dis-abled. You may still register through COB Friday, December 10 - Download Registration Form and fax back before COB Friday, December 10. After this date, registrations will be handled on-site. Contact Betsy Lauer at [email protected] or (703) 247-9473 for additional information.

Registration Rates

Regular Registration
until December 10

Onsite Registration December 11 - 15
 Government*  $150  $200
 AFEI/NDIA Member  $250  $325
 Non-member  $350  $425

*Only available for active-duty military and civilian employees

Registration Policy
Please do not fax or mail any registrations after December 10, 2010.  After this date, bring your registration form with you to the conference for onsite registration.  Registrations will not be taken over the phone.  Payment must be made at the time of registration.  Seating for this event is limited, so register early to insure your participation.

Cancellation Policy
Cancellations received before November 10, 2010 will receive a full refund.  
Cancellation requests received between November 11 and December 11 will receive a refund minus a $75.00 transaction fee. No refunds will be given for cancellations received after December 11, 2010.  Substitutions are welcome in lieu of cancellations. Substitutions and cancellations must be made in writing to [email protected].

AFEI Events: A Step beyond Networking


Sponsorships provide maximum visibility and brand recognition. You can strengthen your market position, make key contacts, showcase your products and services, and develop relationships with new customers, while reinforcing your existing customer relations. Sponsorships add a critical tool to your current marketing strategy.

Promotional Partner for $1,500 

Benefits include:

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  • Recognition from the podium
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  • 1 complimentary conference registration

Conference Partner for $2,500

Benefits include:

  • Logo on the conference event web site
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  • Company name on filler slides at conference
  • Recognition from the podium 
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Platinum Partner for $5,000

Benefits include:

  • Opportunity to participate on "Ask the Expert" panel
  • Logo on the conference event web site
  • Company description in the conference program
  • Company name on filler slides at conference
  • Recognition from the podium
  • Event Signage
  • Recognition as sponsor in all conference marketing promotions
  • Pre & post-conference sponsored email to attendees
  • Table-Top Display
  • 3 complimentary conference registrations

Contact Betsy Lauer at [email protected] or 703-247-9473.


The purpose of the conference to:

  • examine agile in the light reform of IT acquisition
  • explain initiatives such as and how programs can use them to increase software development speed and efficiency
  • expose successful infrastructure and application development uses of agile methods that are driving innovation
  • educate attendees on how to get started and make it real in programs

Attending this conference will:

  • raise awareness of how agile methods are being used in DOD and other federal agencies
  • increase understanding of what agile methods and infrastructure developments are enabling innovation
  • identify practical procurement and contracting approaches for applying agile development to programs
  • examine concrete lessons-learned from real-world successes and failures
  • expand insight on the relationship of agile software development to governance, enterprise architecture and portfolio management

For more information about highlighting your company’s innovative and agile technology solutions and services, email [email protected]

Download table top application

Conference Proceedings are now available

Link to VirtualAFEI here

Collabnet CEO Blogs About the Conference

Bill Portelli, CEO of Collabnet, wrote a summary of the conference in a blog post at CM Crossroads.  Read it here at CM Crossroads (text follows):

Agile Practices Need to Evolve Dramatically in US Defense

Written by Bill Portelli   
Friday, 17 December 2010 11:47

This past Tuesday, December 14th, I attended the U.S. Department of Defense Agile Development Conference in Washington DC put on by the Association For Enterprise Information (AFEI) -  

During the conference the expanding commitment to agile by the DOD community was clear.  Agile practices, from contract policies to cloud based development, have:

- achieved clear support up to the US congressional level as evidenced by the HR 2647, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 sec 804.  This act is a significant milestone for Agile, in that, sec 804 prescribes that the U.S. Secretary of Defense must tell Congress how it will implement agile development in its future programs, and

- revealed benefits that are understood by the highest level of U.S. defense executives.  e.g., DISA CTO Dave Mihelcic and DOD policy leaders such as Daniel Risacher (Associate Director for Information Policy and Integration, ODCIO DOD) who are driving IT practices DOD wide towards agile and open source, and

 -recognized strong support from scores of program offices and tens of thousands of developers. 

Although tremendous progress has been made, DOD adoption of agile is still in its early stages.  Agile practices will need to expand dramatically in the defense industry before it achieves mainstream acceptance within the DOD - not just in development, but in policies and contracting methods as well.  This represents a great opportunity for the defense department, contractors, agile and open source evangelists, and industry vendors/suppliers alike.

What’s remarkable is that this is quite a different response to the one we received 7-8 years ago when CollabNet first started promoting “collaborative open source development practices (which later evolved to “agile”)” to the DOD.   These practices can literally shave billions of dollars off of the defense budget by enabling the well know infrastructure benefits of the cloud, shortening development cycles, and by enabling systems interoperability.  Fast forward to December 2010. 

At this year’s AFEI conference, sessions were led by leaders in the agile defense community including my colleague Mike Kochanik – VP of CollabNet Federal, Scott Ambler – Practice Leader Agile Development at IBM, Dave Mihelcic – CTO of DISA, and many others.  Nearly 200 prominent industry and defense executives, program owners, and developers spent the day discussing the merits of agile and sharing success stories and challenges of using agile methods versus traditional methodologies.  It was a healthy debate.

Despite the acceptance of agile, by what now seems like virtually every corner of the defense community, an indication that the adoption of agile in DOD is still in its infancy was illustrated by a simple poll of the audience.  When the 200 member audience was asked: “How many of you have attended a 2 day Scrum course to get started?” less than 10 attendees raised their hands.  So even while there are many expert agile teams and suppliers in the defense community, this simple poll demonstrated that even the basics of agile are not well understood.   This is important, because many agile advocates believe that laying a solid foundation is critical to growing agile successfully within an organization.

The bottom line is that is that Defense Programs are unique, which means that Agile practices will need to evolve to address the DOD’s needs.  Agile in the DOD will need to address governmental policy and contracting issues associated with the move to Firm Schedule/Fixed Price Contracts, the demand for development tools that support top secret security requirements, the  resistance by traditional integrators whose business models still rely on time and materials based contracts and more.  I won’t dwell on these topics and others that were discussed at the conference, but a few are worth sharing further:

-        Complex and Distributed Contractor Hierarchy – The defense community often has software components that don’t always fit so nicely within contractor corporate boundaries.  It is quite common that geographically dispersed contractors work on the same code –with markedly strenuous security and IP concerns.  For example, I talked to a Program Manager for a major Washington DC Defense System Integrator who migrating his program to the DISA sponsored cloud, in order to address his need to set up a secure virtual agile development environment for his distributed contractors.  By doing so he expects to save hundreds of thousands of dollars and shave months of development time off of his project schedule since the procurement, set-up, and security compliance certification time alone in the defense community can take up to 9 months.  The higher quality, reduced development cycles, and increased user satisfaction agile provides will be added bonus to his Program.  What convinced this SI to move his development project to was the track record of success he saw for projects using the cloud, which currently has over 7,500 defense users and 400 projects (quoted by the Program Director Rob Vietmeyer) – and it is growing daily.

-        10 – 30 Year Life Cycles - In the commercial world, agile teams, tools, and support environments often come together like touring rock bands or the Olympics – sustainable teams that may work for months or a couple of years before disassembling.  For instance, consumer electronics often have short lifecycles measured in single digit months – just look at the mobile market.  But in the defense community, systems are often designed to have a lifecycle of 30 or more years.  As a result, special consideration needs to be given to the processes, development strategies and platforms that will support hybrid styles of program with an ability to evolve in a managed fashion over decades.  For instance, I talked to a Marine Captain who is achieving big results implementing his Command and Control program using hybrid development processes - waterfall for the overall program, spiral for major system components, and agile for subsystem development. – all using to support his distributed team and security requirements.  This Captain is a huge fan of agile, and he is driving his procurement, culture, and development model more in that direction.

-        Contracting Rewards and Policies – The aforementioned Dan Risacher described a case where agile development was used by a Defense Contractor to modify the system specs as the project evolved.  The result was a system that was “right on the user target”.  The development cycle had overwhelming user involvement and high user satisfaction in the end product.  However, the Program Office financially penalized the contractor for not meeting the original DOD system spec which had been meticulously developed and locked down.  Sounds crazy, right?  But these procurement practices are law.  The bottom line is that DOD Reward Policies are cumbersome and slow to react, and need to be modified to account for agile development characteristics.  Today’s rapidly changing defense scenarios simply can’t afford the time that a multi-month change order process traditionally has taken to change a requirement.  Furthermore, contracting officers need to be educated to fully comprehend the agile process, and what their role is when the War Fighter and the software developers are changing code in real time using virtual environments.

-        Test Cycles – Beth McGrath, Deputy Chief Management Officer (DCMO), stated that DOD acquires over $40 billion worth of IT based systems every year and the average delivery time is seven years.  It is common for these IT intensive DOD Programs to use a waterfall method of 80 months for development followed by a 6 month testing cycle (functional, performance, security, etc.).  Per Dr Steve Hutchinson, the Test and Evaluation Executive for DISA, this process correctly tests the original specifications, but falls short in modern warfare environments where theatre scenarios are changing regularly.  Clearly, the defense development and test cycles need to be modified.  Over the past year, as agencies are beginning to embrace agile, Dr Hutchinson and his team have worked to reduce agile testing cycles to as short as 6 weeks.  Now, there are further testing capabilities being released, such as i) to further integrate testing into even shorter TDD agile iterations, and ii) the integration of DISA’s Rapid Access Computing Environment (“RACE”) to create a virtual end-to-end agile DevOps environment. 

We know that agile demands changes to commercial organizations with respect to team culture, development processes, and tools - especially now that most agile teams are distributed.  I can tell you with certainty that agile issues in the defense industry are even more complex, with deep procurement, policy, security, and distributed team factors to consider.  Evolving agile in DOD will benefit the US citizens immensely by saving tens of billions of dollars annually, and realizing reinvestment potential. It is an attainable target rich opportunity that excites and motivates many of us to continue to push the industry envelope – and frankly, for anyone that cares about national security.  If you want to get involved, I’d encourage you to attend the AFEI events or join in the cloud-based agile development at  These are open and vibrant communities.

I’d be interested in getting your feedback, especially from those of you that are in the defense community.  There’s a lot we can achieve together.

About the Author Bill Portelli is CEO and cofounder of CollabNet, a provider of solutions for Agile Application Lifecycle Management (Agile ALM) in the Cloud. His background includes 30 years of experience in engineering, business, and overall executive management. Just prior to CollabNet, Bill was Senior VP and GM of Cadence Design Systems' global consulting business as well as its Custom Integrated Circuits tools business unit.  Involved with open source and on-demand provisioning since the late '90s, Bill has led CollabNet's efforts to extend the best practices of open source software development and SaaS provisioning models into a codified set of agile tools, software development processes, and community best practices to enable breakthrough cost and productivity gains for commercial organizations.  In recognition of his accomplishments as a leader in global software development, Bill was honored at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, with the Technology Pioneer Award in 2010..

Related Paper

David Rico and Rex Reagan Paper - "Lean & Agile Acquisition and Systems Engineering: A Paradigm Whose Time Has Come"



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