Software Development

DHS's Margie Graves puts agile first

DHS logo

If you follow federal IT, you are probably familiar with “cloud first” and “mobile first.” But how about “agile first”?

Margie Graves, deputy CIO at the Homeland Security Department, used the term at the Federal Mobile Computing Summit on Jan. 23. The event is organized by Mobilegov.

The Government Accountability Office has encouraged agile approaches, and in July 2012 released guidance on best practices, with the notion that agile will enhance the federal government’s development and adoption of IT.

The idea is that instead of lengthy initiatives, projects are broken into smaller increments, saving both money and time. Graves said that DHS is making an effort to ensure that the department considers agile first for every application it develops. “It’s not applicable to everything, but it should be the first thing you consider,” she said.

Some of DHS’ major programs are now being migrated over from the traditional methodology to agile, which requires a different way of thinking. For example, she said, testing and aspects of security need to be done differently.

“You can’t be working through your use cases when you have to go back and do a six-week testing cycle – it doesn’t work,” Graves said. “All of the processes centered around development you have to change in order to support agile.”

Graves’ endorsement of agile methods echoes that of DHS CIO Richard Spires. Speaking at a conference last year, Spires advocated agile development and highlighted its benefits.

“I am very big on agile or modular development,” he said at the May, 15 2012 event. “We are really pushing agile. I have half a dozen agile projects going on today.”

Graves won a Federal 100 award in 2012 for her work helping DHS move to cloud computing.

About the Author

Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.

Featured

  • People
    Dr. Ronny Jackson briefs the press on President Trump

    Uncertainty at VA after nominee withdraws

    With White House physician Adm. Ronny Jackson's withdrawal, VA watchers are wondering what's next for the agency and its planned $16 billion health IT modernization project.

  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.