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GCN : July 2013
EDITOR'S DESK BY PAUL MCCLOSKEY HOW TO REACH THE STAFF You can reach staff members of 1105 Government Information Group. A list of staff members can be found online at www.gcn. com. Go to Contact GCN andclick on GCN Editors, Writers, Staff and Beats. Staff members of the 1105 Government Information Group can also be reached by e-mail, phone, fax or mail.E- MAIL: To e-mail staff members, please use the naming convention of rst initial followed by their last name @1105govinfo.com. So John Smith would be firstname.lastname@example.org. PHONE OR FAX: The switchboard is open weekdays 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern time. After 5:30 p.m. you will be directed to individual extensions. VIENNA OFFICE: (703) 876-5100; Fax (703) 876-5059. 8609 Westwood Center Drive, Suite 500, Vienna, VA 22182-2215. CORPORATE OFFICE: (weekdays, 8:30 a.m. -- 5:30 p.m. PT) Telephone 818-814-5200; Fax 818-734-1522 9201 Oakdale Avenue, Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311 EDITORIAL INQUIRIES: Go to gcn.com/pressroom REPRINTS: For all editorial and advertising reprints of 100 copies or more,and digital (Web-based) reprints, contact PARS International, Phone (212) 221-9195, E-mail: 1105reprints@ parsintl.com/QuickQuote.asp EDITORIAL STAFF EDITOR-IN-CHIEF PAUL McCLOSKEY EXECUTIVE EDITOR KEVIN McCANEY EDITORS/WRITERS MANAGING EDITOR ONLINE SUSAN MILLER MANAGING EDITOR HEATHER KULDELL SOCIAL MEDIA SENIOR EDITOR RUTRELL YASIN GCN LAB DIRECTOR JOHN BREEDEN II SENIOR WRITER WILLIAM JACKSON CONTRIBUTING WRITERS MICHAEL DACONTA, KATHLEEN HICKEY, PATRICK MARSHALL, SHAWN MCCARTHY, EDITORIAL/ONLINE PRODUCTION CREATIVE DIRECTOR JEFF LANGKAU ASSISTANT DRAGUTIN CVIJANOVIC ART DIRECTOR SENIOR WEB BISWARUP DESIGNERS BHATTACHARJEE MARTIN PEACE PRESIDENT & CHIEFANNE A. ARMSTRONG CONTENT OFFICER CHIEF OPERATING ABRAHAM M. LANGER OFFICER SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT JENNIFER WEISS & GROUP PUBLISHER VICE PRESIDENT, CARMEL McDONAGH MARKETING PRESIDENT & CHIEF NEAL VITALE EXECUTIVE OFFICER SENIOR VICE RICHARD VITALE PRESIDENT & CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER EXECUTIVE MICHAEL J. VALENTI VICE PRESIDENT VICE PRESIDENT, CHRISTOPHER M. COATE FINANCE & ADMINISTRATION VICE PRESIDENT, ERIK A. LINDGREN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY & APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT VICE PRESIDENT, DAVID F. MYERS EVENT OPERATIONS CHAIRMAN OF JEFFREY S. KLEIN THE BOARD www.gcn.com Volume 32 Issue 7 A multi-billion dollar project by the government of the United Kingdom to streamline its entire social welfare benefits delivery system is in disarray, accord- ing to reports that question whether the project s reliance on agile software development has contributed to cost overruns and lack of progress. So in May the government an- nounced it would return to the traditional "waterfall" model of software development for the $4 billion Universal Credit project, believed to have been the largest agile project ever attempted. Agile is a modular approach to software development that advocates small teams, frequent briefings with internal custom- ers and management flexibility for large software development projects. The about-face in the U.K. touched o a discussion on whether agile was to blame for Universal Credit s woes, or whether the government failed to apply agile techniques ef- fectively. Public works minister Mark Hogan put it diplomati- cally, saying that for projects this complex, "both agile and water- fall methods may be appropriate at di erent times." Fair enough, but the reality is that agile --- already an estab- lished approach to technology development --- is becoming more and more relevant in the government sector. In a broad sense, agile has become both method and meta- phor for how to manage soft- ware projects, foster innovation and just do business at a time when government organizations are becoming more virtual, proj- ects are more complex and the teams and stakeholders manag- ing those projects are more and more interconnected. But it s not an area where government is a pacesetter. In a report last year on "e ective practices and federal challenges in applying agile methods," the Government Accountability Of- fice identified challenges federal agencies have been having in applying agile methods. Most of the problems revolved around practices that seem to be commonplace in today s stream- lined commercial workplaces and classrooms. For instance, GAO reported that government teams had di culty, "collabo- rating closely," "transitioning to self-directed work" and "committing to more timely and frequent input." While those are legitimate challenges, teams in and out of government that continue to have di culty with those practices will have more than a software development problem. They are also likely to have prob- lems just meeting the agency s mission. So stay agile. The future of government projects and project teams will only involve greater self-direction, more close-in col- laboration and continuous input. And that will no doubt be the case whether you belong to the Department of Motor Vehicles or SEAL Team 6.• FROM SEAL TEAM 6 TO THE DMV, THE FUTURE IS AGILE 6 GCN JULY 2013 • GCN.COM GCN (ISSN 0738-4300) is published monthly by 1105 Media, Inc., 9201 Oakdale Avenue, Ste. 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311. Periodicals postage paid at Chatsworth, CA 91311-9998, and at additional mailing of ces. Complimentary subscriptions are sent to qualifying subscribers. Annual subscription rates payable in U.S. funds for non-quali ed subscribers are: U.S. $125.00, International $165.00. Subscription inquiries, back issue requests, and address changes: Mail to: GCN, P.O. Box 2166, Skokie, IL 60076-7866, call (866) 293-3194, outside U.S. (847) 763-9560; fax (847) 763-9564 or email GCNmag@1105service.com. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to GCN, P.O. Box 2166, Skokie, IL 60076-7866. Canada Publications Mail Agree- ment No: 40612608. Return Undeliverable Canadian Addresses to Circulation Dept. or XPO Returns: P.O. Box 201, Richmond Hill, ON L4B 4R5, Canada. GCN SoMe: REACH US ON SOCIAL MEDIA gcn.com/twitter gcn.com/linkedin gcn.com/facebook gcn.com/googleplus LET'S CONNECT! GCN uses Twitter to keep you informed of new case studies, product information and expert opinions on how to choose technology in the public sector. Follow us by June 30, 2013 and we'll pick one lucky follower to win an Xbox 360 with Kinect. Learn more at GCN.com/followGCNtech.