Agile Development for Intelligence and Defense Contractors

As technology evolves and consumer demands change with them, old models of software development become increasingly ineffectual. Agile software development is an overarching principle that stresses collaboration and flexibility. Both are important organizational attributes in any industry, but they are especially important in government and defense contracting, where the rapid move to the cloud demands faster response times and increased accountability at all stages of the product development lifecycle.

Agile vs. Waterfall Development

Agile software development is contrasted with the “waterfall” model, a sequential system consisting, in most of its iterations, of six core steps:

  1. Requirement gathering and analysis
  2. System design
  3. Implementation
  4. Integration and testing
  5. Deployment and testing
  6. Maintenance

While simple and easy to use, the limitations of this system become increasingly evident as product complexity rises. The fundamental change of Agile methodology is to make development incremental rather than sequential, with individual teams working on smaller modules that are easier to change as a project’s requirements evolve.

Benefits of Agile Development

The advantages of Agile development compared to waterfall include the flexibility to make changes on the in real time without compromising overall goals. Working in increments, development teams can evaluate priorities as they go along and incorporate feedback at the end of each sprint. This makes it easier to bring a product to market and helps reduce the likelihood of bugs making it to the finished build.

Agile Development in the Cloud

Agile methodology is particularly well suited to software development in cloud and AWS-based environments. In the cloud:

  • Testing and staging can be expedited as multiple teams can work on the same project at once
  • Feedback and testing results can be incorporated with greater efficiency, speeding up the project development cycle
  • Individual project modules can be branched off and merged with greater simplicity
  • Innovation is encouraged as it is easier to spawn a new development instantly
  • IT costs are lowered as fewer resources are required to bring a product to market
  • Additional funds can be dedicated to improving the customer experience

As the cloud becomes more prevalent in government contracting, organizations that adopt Agile development methodologies today will be better positioned to thrive in the years to come.

Challenges for Government Contractors

Agile development requires both strong project management skills and cultural change at the organizational level. As a result, adapting and benefitting from it can be a challenge in government and defense contracting, where old ways of doing things are often firmly entrenched. For this reason, strong partnerships are key.

DataSync is a leading Agile development consultant for Washington, DC-area contractors. We have extensive experience working in cloud– and AWS-based platforms. Based in North Virginia, we are ideally positioned to provide Agile development services for the Washington, DC-area and beyond. We have a long history of service to the defense and intelligence community, and we understand your organization’s priorities as well as the challenges it faces in adopting new technologies and development methodologies.

Contact our office directly to learn more about how Agile development can benefit any DC-area government contractor or federal contracting team.

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