2016 Rising Star Awards

Veretta 'Tia' Loftin

Agile Program Manager, Department of Homeland Security

Meet the rest of the Rising Stars

2016 Rising Stars
Click here for profiles of all the 2016 winners.

Tia Loftin made huge strides in promoting the adoption of agile development at the Department of Homeland Security. Using the department’s pioneering Agile Instruction and Guidebook, she developed a successful strategy for deploying that knowledge to all 22 DHS components and offices.

The guidebook provides a way to track agile adoption so that coverage gaps can be identified and addressed through instruction and coaching. However, Loftin realized that the jargon associated with agile methodology was creating a roadblock to adoption. IT specialists often stumbled over terms such as “information radiators” and “ceremonies,” which are nothing more exotic than whiteboards and meetings.

She decided that DHS could speed understanding and adoption of agile development if it broke down the key strategies into chunks that any IT specialist could understand.

To accomplish that, Loftin implemented the concept of “agile building blocks” — 10 pragmatic steps that IT professionals can easily understand and that also help the CIO staff gauge the use of agile practices for major investments at DHS.

Her managers say the innovative approach has helped the department expand the use of agile adoption for IT programs. A recent departmentwide survey revealed that 87 percent of major IT investments that included software development were delivering usable functionality within the six-month standard established by the Office of Management and Budget.

Loftin has gone on to tackle the use of agile for non-major investments at DHS and will track agile adoption at the project level. She also planned and hosted an Agile IT Expo that featured more than a dozen exhibits of DHS programs and projects that are successfully using agile development techniques.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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