When an agency principal lacks the knowledge to understand and control major software projects, they are handing their control of the agency to some consulting firm’s project manager.
Category Archives: Government
“Agile” versus “agile.”
When writing about Agile software development, I always capitalize the word. This isn’t an affectation, but instead an effort to communicate an important distinction.
The work before the work: what agencies need to do before bringing on an Agile vendor.
An Agile vendor team cannot be successful unless the agency has prepared for them.
“Customized COTS” is the worst of both.
It’s a tar pit, a way to pay for extensive renovations to software that you do not own, and now feel that you cannot leave, because the sunk cost fallacy is real.
Why governors put this over here, with the rest of the fire.
When presented with a disastrous, multi-year, failing, mission-critical software project, a governor will double down on the failing strategy. Here’s why.
An Excel error caused a $202 million state budget shortfall.
Excel shouldn’t serve as load-bearing infrastructure. Its files can’t be diffed, version controlled, or tested. Virginia’s failure shows the cost of doing so.
Pity Francis M. Wilhoit.
You’ve got to feel for Francis M. Wilhoit. He’s most remembered for one, brief quote…which he never wrote.
Major government software procurements fail at a high rate. There are a lot of methods of reducing the odds of failure, but how do you know if that’s necessary? Developers talk about “code smells”—small things that are off in ways that indicate that there may be larger problems. So, too, are there procurement smells—the little …
The disconnect between software development and government contracting.
There’s a big disconnect between modern software development practices and government contracting. It can seem intractable, but there is a solution. It’s the job of contracting officers to get government the best value for their money. That means being sure that they’ll get precisely what they need, within budget and on time. Normally, the best …
Continue reading “The disconnect between software development and government contracting.”
Never contract for story points.
When contracting for Agile software development services, sometimes contracting officers make “story points” the thing that they’re buying. This is an enormous mistake, on a couple of levels, and nobody should ever do it. Let’s talk about why. First, let’s define “story points.” Agile development teams need to figure out what they’re going to work …