Report by Sukumar Ganapati: “Agile emerged initially as a set of values and principles for software development formalized in 2001 with the Agile Manifesto. For two decades, it helped revolutionize software development. Today, Agile approaches have been adapted to government services beyond software development, offering a new way of thinking and delivering in areas such as project management, policymaking, human resources, and procurement.
The basics of Agile and associated methods have been covered in previous IBM Center for The Business of Government reports. These reports provide a good overview of Agile principles, use of Lean, and application of user-centered design. They provide insights into the evolution of Agile adoption in public sector over the last two decades. This new report, Adopting Agile in State and Local Governments, by Sukumar Ganapati of Florida International University, examines the adoption of Agile among state and local governments. State and local governments have increasingly adopted Agile methods in the last decade, applying them across a range of applications. At the same time, they vary widely in terms of their maturity levels in the adoption and implementation.
Professor Ganapati identifies three broad phases in this lifecycle of Agile maturity among public agencies in general. The three phases are not clear cut, with distinctive breaks between where one phase ends and the next one begins. Rather, they could be conceived as a continuum, as public agencies evolve through the lifecycle of implementing Agile. The report highlights the evolution of the use of Agile methods in two states (Connecticut and California) and two local cities (New York and Austin). The cases show the rich contextual evolution of Agile and how the methods are applied for using technology to streamline enterprise processes and to address social policy problems. The four case studies show different trajectories of adopting Agile in state and local governments. The strategies for adopting and implementing Agile methods broadly differ in the three lifecycle phases of infancy, adolescence, and adulthood. The case studies offer lessons for enabling strategies to adopt Agile across these three phases…(More)”.