Is there a silver bullet for implementing agile to deliver products that are fit for purpose and fit for use? Shorten your feedback loops is what experts agree on. However, feedback loops in highly structured, siloed and regulated environments, such as the Government, have built-in challenges, ranging from regulation to competing stakeholder interests, which inhibit agility if left unaddressed. This session presents a backstage pass to the journey of a mission-critical system at General Services Administration (GSA) – from a well-intended failure to a hallowed agile success story – through the eyes of the GSA Program Manager. By examining the successes and failures along this journey through an interactive conversation, we will discuss how we have conjured up an agile methodology that works within our constraints at GSA, and has allowed us to enhance user experience for over 2000 users in a short amount of time. This methodology optimizes a series of interrelated feedback loops (from product conceptualization through production deployment) to deliver customer-centric products faster. Using workplace experiences, we will interactively examine how different organizations within GSA, including but not limited to Contracting Office, Program Office and IT, have collaborated to making agile a reality at GSA despite being geographically dispersed. Further, we will share our observations and techniques we’ve employed to minimize risk from cognitive biases and likely pitfalls that one may encounter when attempting to implement agile practices.

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