With today’s demanding environment of reduced local, state, and federal budgets, most agencies are considering some level of Agile adoption or transformation to increase efficiencies and meet these challenging demands of running their departments.   Agile is a growing methodology within local, state, & federal governments. While the principles of Agile remain consistent between private sector and public sector implementations, some of the nuances have to change to accommodate government oversight.

Agile is “an iterative project management methodology that delivers differentiated, high-value solutions in rapid deployments and functionality, and relies on frequent feedback and adaptation to reach desired outcomes,” – per the National Association of State CIOs. It is based on the Agile Manifesto, which lays out four key values: individuals and interactions over processes and tools; working software over comprehensive documentation; customer collaboration over contract negotiation and responding to change over following a plan.

When it comes to Agile adoption in local, state, & federal government, in the last seven years there’s been a  jump in the number of federal agile projects and this is reflected in the findings of the 11 Annual State of Agile Report. Respondents reported that the top benefits of implementing agile were “accelerated delivery, better project visibility, improved team productivity and management of changing priorities.”   However per Accenture Consulting, U.S. State leaders cited lack of training and knowledge in how to use agile as the top barrier to more local, state, & federal government organizations applying this approach, and 65 percent indicated that more than half of their staff had no skills in agile. Consequently, local, state, & federal government agencies see agile training for both IT and business talent as critical to success.  “Training fosters adherence to agile, adoption of the more mature aspects of the approach and the onboarding of new developers, project managers and agency stakeholders,” the report states. “Some States found that training the organization’s leadership on agile helped them achieve success”.

Agile adoption is happening at all levels of government, from California to Rhode Island, federal implementations like those by the Department of Veterans Affairs and in a growing number of cities and counties.  Below are applications of Agile methods at the federal and state levels, including benefits of using these methodologies, challenges of adopting and how to address them, and common best practices for Agile methods:

1 Department of Justice (DOJ): Beginning in 2014, the DOJ adopted a Scrum Agile methodology to modernize and consolidate the DOJ website, justice.gov. With early success in implementing version releases on time and to budget, the DOJ overhauled justice.gov across 12 iterations within the Scrum methodology. Scrum Agile lessened project challenges impact and encouraged stakeholder investment as the iterative approach allowed for user testing and feedback during development.

2 Salt Lake City: The Salt Lake City Information Management Services (IMS) department wanted to implement fresh ways to approach business, so the department leadership established a project management office (PMO) and Agile training series. The Salt Lake City IMS now applies Agile for a variety of projects including software development, system implementations, and upgrades.

3 State of Maine: The State of Maine moved to Agile processes to better quantify and prove success within initiatives while progressing through them, to avoid risk and project failures at cost. In adopting Agile, the State of Maine established an Agile Center of Excellence (CoE), responsible for equipping project teams with the skills and resources necessary to effectively apply Agile in their culture.


Any local, state. or federal agency adopting Agile – or entering into contracts with Agile-practicing businesses – should be mindful of the various flavors of Agile and select the method(s) that most closely aligns with its goals. Most Agile transformation efforts in government and the private sector begin with the Scrum process.  As agencies progress in their Agile adoption, they begin to see the value of adding the Agile engineering practices, such as Test-Driven Development, Continuous Integration, and Pair Programming.

In response to the growth in adoption of Agile Project Management by local, state, & federal government, PMO Advisory, a PMI® (Project Management Institute)  Registered Education Provider and New Jersey’s leading project management training & consulting firm, is regularly delivering a 1 Day Agile & Scrum Fundamentals Workshop and a 2 Day PMI-ACP (Agile Certified Practitioner) Certification Prep Course.   Both courses are offered regularly at the PMO Advisory training center in New Jersey and to people everywhere live instructor led online.   

With our 1 Day Agile & Scrum Fundamentals Workshop ($299) our proprietary approach to hands on learning will give you the ability and confidence to implement Agile methodologies on your first day back in the office.   Our 2 Day PMI-ACP Certification Prep Course is designed to enable you to pass the Project Management Institute’s Agile Certified Practitioner’s exam on the first try. Click here to learn more, our next scheduled courses, and to receive a discount coupon for either our 1 Day Agile & Scrum Fundamentals course or our 2 Day PMI-ACP Certification Prep course.

PMO Advisory is excited to deliver these workshops to local, state, and federal government agencies throughout the U.S. through live online instructor led delivery.  There is no content difference between the in-person classroom experience and the online live experience – both include the same materials and curriculum.. Today online courses boast the ability to break the virtual classroom into teams and team work spaces to work through the course.  Webcams, and group-specific work spaces have enabled online training to feel more like an in-person experience.   Learn more at New Jersey’s leading project management training & consulting firm, PMO Advisory.