Agile Education Case Study

Resolving Government Project Inefficiencies with Agile Solutions

Discover how Dave Witkin and his team tackled government project inefficiencies, turning an eight-year struggle into success with agile solutions. Learn about their agile approach and key achievements in streamlining delivery, paving the way for on-time product delivery and expansion opportunities.


Trainer Name: Dave Witkin
Organization: Large U.S. Government Agency
Industry: Government
Organization Size: Large
Topic: Adapting to Change, Continuous Improvement and Impediment Removal, Executive Action Team (EAT), Scaled Daily Scrum (SDS), Traditional Project Management Failure
Date: 2019

Case Study Summary  

Resolving Government Project Inefficiencies with Agile Solutions 

A prominent U.S. government agency found itself mired in an eight-year-long struggle to overhaul its financial management and acquisition system. Despite pouring nearly $400 million into the endeavor and engaging multiple contractors, the project remained stagnant with no usable product in sight. Frustrated by the lack of progress, they sought assistance from Dave Witkin and his team to introduce an agile solution that would reduce project inefficiencies and delays. Facing skepticism about the applicability of Scrum and agile principles in their commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software environment, Dave’s team was given a mere three months and no extra funding to showcase tangible results and ensure timely product delivery.

The Agile Solution: Streamlining Delivery with Scrum at Scale Practices

First, Dave and his team devised a strategy to maximize impact within a tight timeframe. They opted to implement two potent elements from the Scrum at Scale framework: a Scaled Daily Scrum and an Executive Action Team (EAT). The Scaled Daily Scrum, conducted without individual team sessions, provided a collective overview of progress, optimizing coordination across teams. Additionally, the EAT, comprising a coach, an IT executive, and a business executive, swiftly addressed impediments hindering team progress, often resolving issues on the same day.

Key Outcomes

The primary objective was to demonstrate the efficacy of agile principles in facilitating on-time delivery. Following the introduction of these impactful Scrum events, the results spoke for themselves:

  • Achieved Delivery Goal: The project met its delivery target without incurring additional costs.
  • Crucial Role of Scaled Daily Scrum: Executives credited the Scaled Daily Scrum as instrumental in ensuring timely product delivery.
  • Expansion Opportunities: Dave’s team received invitations to implement phase two and extend agile practices to other areas within the organization.

Despite these successes, the quality of delivered work fell short, prompting moderate dissatisfaction from the customer. Many lingering issues were attributed to the legacy waterfall approach and insufficient emphasis on quality from the project’s outset. However, these setbacks provided valuable lessons for the teams as they moved into the next phase.

About Dave Witkin

Dave Witkin is a Registered Scrum Trainer™ and Registered Scrum@Scale Trainerand is among a select group of government practitioners worldwide certified to teach Scrum and Scrum@Scale. His company specializes in assisting the U.S. government and its contractors in realizing the benefits of large-scale Agile adoption, fostering long-term partnerships for sustainable outcomes. Collaborating with business and IT executives, Dave has played a pivotal role in transforming some of the largest software projects globally, leveraging effective scaled Agile techniques.

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