Agile Assessment & Pilot Program for Government Defense Contractor

The client is a large government defense contractor who has delivered essential science and technology to resolve the nation’s most challenging security issues for more than 60 years. As a contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the client is responsible for supporting numerous federal, state, and local government agencies, companies, and organizations.

The Challenge

As a leading provider of complex national security solutions, it was critical for this organization to decrease time to market, increase product quality, and secure predictability in all processes. The client serves the Department of Energy, National Reconnaissance Office, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, and the United States Air Force, so precision and speed in the delivery of this initiative were particularly important.

The Solution

The client chose Eliassen Group to assess areas for improvement and identify the major impediments in their product delivery lifecycle. During the assessment, careful attention was given to:

  • How hardware was coordinated with software and firmware development
  • How testing was conducted throughout the product development process
  • Departments involved in building and delivering the product
  • How often these products were released to the customer and/or to the market
  • Source code management and build deployment
  • Tooling in place to support the Agile pilot
  • The U-Curve optimization (analysis of transaction costs) for >delivering work

Under the guidance of Eliassen Group, the organization chose the SAFe framework to address all identified issues. The SAFe framework is best equipped to address the complex issues often associated with developing large-scale systems that combine hardware, firmware, and software. Kicking off a 1-year pilot program, they started with 11 Scrum teams with 143 people to support their first Agile Release Train (ART) and set their Program Increments (PIs) at 3 months, with a three-week iteration cycle.

The Result

  • The overall metrics and feedback indicated:
  • Reduction in time to market from 3 years to 3 months
  • 60% increase in quality
  • 55% defect reduction rate
  • 50% improved solution delivery predictability