George Franz and Ian Fogarty of Accenture Federal Services wrote in a guest piece published Friday on Breaking Defense that the Department of Defense should combine Agile software development with product management to speed up the development of weapons systems and help maintain U.S. edge in innovation and the country's global preeminence.
“Done correctly, Agile Product Management achieves the speed and responsiveness to evolving needs provided by agile software development, while also helping to handle the complexities associated with suppliers/providers, large and complex integrations, and a wide ecosystem of stakeholders typically seen in mission critical defense and intelligence systems,“ Franz, a retired U.S. Army major general, and Fogarty wrote.
They said there are five principles DOD leaders can implement to advance Agile product management and those include embracing concerns, continuously assessing product progress and setting decision making at the right level by empowering practitioners and encouraging feedback on a particular product.
Fogarty and Franz noted that Agile also requires leadership that advances the creation of an environment that allows people to use their skills in pursuing innovation and solving problems.
They also called on Pentagon leaders to stay Agile by prioritizing and integrating efforts “across multiple streams of activity.“
“Without this there will be lags within the value stream or product features that miss the mark from an end user perspective,“ they added.
Franz is a managing director at Accenture Federal Services for cybersecurity and defense. Fogarty is a managing director for technology and operations at the company.