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RCAS LEADS THE WAY WITH AGILE SOLUTIONS FOR DOD

By Robert G. Medley, RCAS Public Affairs Officer

Mr. Robert Reid, standing, Senior Program Director for the RCAS Prime Contractor, opened the deep dive with introductions of the DAU and RCAS staff and covered the days agenda. Photo provided by Mr. Pete Van Schagen, RCAS Support Contractor.
Mr. Robert Reid, standing, Senior Program Director for the RCAS Prime Contractor, opened the deep dive with introductions of the DAU and RCAS staff and covered the days agenda. Photo provided by Mr. Pete Van Schagen, RCAS Support Contractor.

The Defense Acquisition University (DAU) is endorsing the Reserve Component Automation Systems (RCAS) Agile Solution Factory (ASF) as an experience-based best practice across the DoD including the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. On 9 August 2016, members of DAU’s Foundational Learning Directorate (FLD) and Capital and Northeast (CNE) Region met with members of the RCAS program to conduct deep-dive discussions into four specific areas of the RCAS ASF: RCAS Agile transformation approach (including the RCAS Innovation Engine); implementing Agile at an enterprise scale (including optimizing Agile); integrating Information Assurance across the Agile lifecycle and implementing Earned Value Management (EVM) within Agile (Agile EVM). This meeting was a follow up from a previous session with DAU on 11 May on how RCAS transformed to Agile; this provided an overview of the RCAS ASF and its workings, and a tour of the RCAS ASF with the RCAS product family scrum lanes. DAU is working with DoD on advancing agile in government and has advertised RCAS’s work as a prime example of Agile transformation.

Mr. Robert Reid, Senior Program Director for the RCAS Prime Contractor, explained that RCAS successfully transitioned from a waterfall methodology to an agile methodology within the first 45 days of the contract (during the contract transition phase). Robert talked about the transition to agile methodology within 45 days and how the scrum teams went through storming-norming-performing phases in the new agile development methodology. As the team began to implement automation (including test automation and continuous integration), the RCAS ASF started showing optimal performance within the first 6 months. The Agile approach focuses on quick and responsive software development designed to optimize the use and effectiveness of the RCAS suite of applications for Soldiers. The implementation of Agile has had far-reaching effects across the Army National Guard (ARNG) and the U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) by enabling RCAS to release high-quality products and services more frequently to meet stakeholders’ requirements on time and on point.

Having stabilized the operation within the Agile Solution Factory, RCAS is driving towards DevOps and further optimizing and measuring the performance of the ASF. At a cultural level, DevOps is a set of tools that breaks the wall between operations and development and molds a uniform team which results in an optimal solution for the warfighter. It focuses on automating as many tests as practical, provides early feedback, and includes security from beginning to end. This is an example of the constant innovation within the RCAS program.

DAU looked at the RCAS ASF model to see how other programs can use the agile approach to shape their future in a more effective and efficient manner. The key to RCAS’s success is transparency with the stakeholders and a trusting relationship with its contractors. RCAS’s Agile management tool, VersionOne, provides a single, user-friendly system for planning and tracking all of the “epics” (ongoing implementation initiatives), sprints, user stories, defects, tasks, tests and issues. Being able to responsibly empower teams and create high trust/quality delivery environments has yielded significant benefits for RCAS as software is released every quarter to accommodate ever-changing operating environments that demand innovative, adaptable information technology solutions. It also allows developers to satisfy key requirements through close collaboration with end users.

RCAS is excited to work with DAU to promote Agile solutions and looks forward to sharing Agile successes in the future. If you would like more information about the implementation of Agile in Government please contact any of the individuals below: Mr. Dennis J. Lujan, RCAS Product Lead at 703-806-3095 or dennis.j.lujan.civ@mail.mil Mr. Bob Skertic, IT Learning Director, DAU at 703-805-5281 or bob.skertic@dau.mil

RCAS is a world class information technology program that leverages Government acquisition and industry technical expertise to successfully empower the citizen Soldiers of our nation with integrated web-based enterprise software solutions and support services that enhance the efficiencies of the Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve by providing multiple automation capabilities to the over 500,000 Soldiers serving in the Army’s Reserve Component.

Posted September 14, 2016