The Department of State (DOS) plays a critical role in assisting customers in meeting their mission of protecting life, property and information. As such, they use a number of systems and softwares which all needed to have various levels of integration and automation, including their use of Microsoft SharePoint.
Our task was to integrate the various systems and software to create a more clearly streamlined process, particularly concerning the use of SharePoint.
In general, SharePoint development projects do not have definitive start and end dates with traditional requirements, development, testing, and deployments. The waterfall software development lifecycle (SDLC) that was in place provided opportunities for a great deal of oversight and planning, but proved challenging for typical SharePoint projects.
In this environment, it took too long to gain customer trust and establish clear lines of communications. Furthermore, requirements were rapidly changing making it difficult to keep up due to the approval processes associated with the existing SDLC. Something had to change in order for the team to be more successful.
ActioNet partnered with the customer to rapidly develop and deploy flexible technology solutions that immediately address the real business needs of its customers.
The ActioNetAgile® Service Offering provided the solution by leveraging an Agile/ Scrum development methodology. Due to the simplified workflow and repeatable processes, it provided the perfect solution for rapid, iterative application development within SharePoint. It became easier to adapt to change when ActioNet delivered small elements of an application to the customer in 2 to 4 week sprints. By working directly with the project stakeholders, the team created a Product Backlog (PB) for high-level requirements. The team worked hand-in-hand with customers to break down the PB into more manageable elements for the Sprint Backlog (SB). The team went to a two-week development sprint cycle, with daily touch points (Scrum meetings) to cover each activity and provide progress status updates.
In addition to the aforementioned process changes, ActioNet focused on working with the customer to place individuals and interactions over processes and tools, deliver working software solutions with exhaustive documentation, collaborate effectively with the customers and view change as an opportunity to do something innovative for the client.
Once development was complete, the team demonstrated the product to the customer (Sprint Demo), followed by an internal retrospective to improve development activities for the next Sprint. Moving to this model allowed the team to react to developmental changes faster and incorporate new requirements during the creation of the application.
Over a short time, ActioNet worked with the customer to successfully change the culture. With ActioNet’s help, the organization has formally established an Agile/Scrum SDLC process within the Project Management Branch and many new projects are being developed leveraging Agile/Scrum. The ActioNetAgile® solution has resulted in the successful delivery of more than 40 applications and, more importantly, has empowered and energized the customers with rapid deployments of new functionality based on real users’ priorities.