Agilex’s Roger Baker: Incremental, Agile Methods Key to Gov’t IT Systems Development

Roger Baker
Roger Baker

Roger Baker, chief strategy officer at Agilex, wrote in a blog post published Monday that he learned during his service in federal government that an incremental and agile development methodology could improve the success rate for information technology programs.

Baker said the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act offers an opportunity for federal chief information officers to help their agencies change the traditional waterfall model to develop IT systems.

“While launching a flawed program is never the intent, the way that government plans, executes and manages these programs makes delay or failure a frequent outcome,” he stated.

He said that during his tenure as CIO at the Department of Veterans Affairs, his office applied an incremental approach to all system development initiatives across the VA.

The process allowed the agency to hit IT delivery goals in more than 80 percent of the projects during a five-year period, according to Baker.

He also noted his experience at the Commerce Department, where he worked as a CIO and helped implement the Advanced Weather Information Processing System.

“Despite significant challenges, we decided the program could and should be saved,” he said.

According to Baker, AWIPS worked to provide early warnings for a canyon flood and two tornadoes and helped save many lives within 45 days of its implementation in 1999.

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