Making IT Work
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLLEGE, AIR UNIVERSITY MAXWELL AFB United States
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The Office of Management and Budget OMB has instructed information technology IT programs to break projects into more manageable chunks of functionality that can be delivered every six to twelve months, like Scrum, an Agile software development method. OMB claims Agile methods, like Scrum, are necessary for the Air Force AF to successfully deliver IT systems on budget, on time, and with all of their planned capabilities. IT systems are critical to a more efficient and effective government. In the current fiscal environment, there are high expectations for IT to bring value to the American taxpayer and advance the mission of the warfighter. One IT program that was cancelled because it was not able to meet this expectation was the AFs Expeditionary Combat Support System ECSS. In 2012, ECSS became the prime example of how an IT system designed to save billions of dollars could actually waste over a billion of taxpayer dollars without producing any usable capability. Before ECSS was cancelled, OMB had concluded that the Waterfall software development methodology that ECSS used did not work. This research used an evaluative framework to determine if Scrum could have fixed Waterfall and delivered ECSS on time, within budget, and with all of its planned capabilities. Release 1 of ECSS was successfully broken into Scrum teams and reduced software development costs and schedule issues presented by Waterfall. Recommendations for future AF IT programs include use of Scrum tailored to meet Department of Defense-unique challenges.
- Computer Programming and Software
- Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies