Please take a look at my latest column for Government Computing News where I discuss why Kanban might be an easier agile alternative for government IT projects having trouble with the rigor of Scrum. Just to give you an idea, here is the unedited introduction.
Over the last decade, many have written about what agile software development offers to government IT. Their success has led to a GAO report, for which I was a contributor, on making agile work in the federal government and the U.S. Digital Services Playbook, which I wrote about for GCN.
Yet while government IT has improved, it has a long way to go. We witnessed the spectacular failure of the initial rollout of HealthCare.gov, and many far less visible failures happen all the time. One reason is that not enough government IT projects are agile. Another is that Scrum, the most popular agile framework, is hard.
In fact Scrum is so hard that the primary duty of the ScrumMaster is to serve as its guardian. Too often senior management pays lip service but does not make the commitment necessary for Scrum to succeed; even if it does, too often the team lacks the discipline to see it through.
Although I am certified in Scrum and teach a Scrum course, I am not so dogmatic as to ignore how hard it is to execute effectively. Thankfully, it isn’t our only hope. As Yoda once said, “There is another.”
Let’s examine why Kanban may in many cases be the better choice for government IT projects than Scrum.