AgileGovCon 2017

Public service leaders wanting to learn more about agile project management and its specific applications to government can register (free) for AgileGovCon 2017.

The virtual mini-conference, hosted by Agile Government Leadership, is June 1 and is “dedicated to helping people in all levels of government effectively bring agile practices and culture into their agencies.”

Format includes lightning talks and panel discussions by agile government practitioners, as well as virtual networking with peers and speakers in the online hangout room. There will be video conferencing and a discussions in the AGL Slack community (join).

Who should attend?

  • C-suite leaders
  • Government employees
  • Agile vendors to government
  • Contracting officers
  • Change agents / mission drivers
  • Program and project managers


  • Modern Agile Procurement
  • Cultural Change in Government
  • The Tao of Agile: What Makes Agile Work
  • What Agile Looks Like in Local Government
  • Building an Agile Enterprise in Government
  • Panel Discussion: “Cultural Transformation Towards Agile”
  • Agile in a Legacy Environment
  • Eureka! User Centered Design on Large Scale, Legacy Projects
  • DevOps and Continuous Deployment
  • What I Learned About Agile at 18F


  • Ann Dunkin (CIO, County of Santa Clara)
  • Kendra Skeene (Director of Product, GeorgiaGov Interactive)
  • Raphy Villas (Transformation Lead, U.S. Department of Labor)
  • Mark Vogelgesang (Software Release Manager, General Services Administration)
  • Jesse Taggert (Product Strategy & Experience Design Leader, CWDS (California))
  • Chris Cairns (Co-founder, 18F / Founder, 18F Consulting)
  • Greg Godbout (Co-Founder, 18F / CEO, cBrain North America)
  • Robert L. Read (Co-founder, 18F / Founder, Public Invention For All Humanity)
  • Tim Nolan (Sr. Applications Manager, Collin County, TX)
  • Dr. David Rico (Lean / Agile Technical Leader, U.S. Gov’t Contractors)
  • Doug Birgfeld (President, LifeWave Coaching / Founder, Maine Agile Center of Excellence)
  • Elizabeth Raley (Director of Professional Services, CivicActions)
  • Josh Smith (Practice Manager, Acquia)

Register for AgileGovCon 2017 and join the AGL Slack community to collaborate during and after the event.

New online course: Agile for the government product owner

Agile Government Leadership has launched a new online course focused on the government product owner and will host a webinar on June 16 to give an overview and answer questions.

The course, Agile for the Government Product Owner, part of the AGL Academy, is free and self-guided.

As I’ve mentioned here before, the product owner is one of the most important, if not the most important, positions in government technology.

Register for the introductory webinar.

Free webinar: ‘Agile for the Government Project Manager’

AGL AcademyAgile Government Leadership has created AGL Academy to help public sector professionals (and their supporting vendors) learn more about agile development practices in the context of government.

The first course, “Agile for the Government Project Manager,” is self-guided, but AGL Working Group members are offering a free webinar to walk through the components of each lesson.

Learn more about the project manager course and register.

For questions, contact AGL.

How to build a lean startup inside government

Leaders from 18F and the White House Presidential Innovation Fellowship program presented at the 2015 Lean Startup Conference on “Lean Methodologies When the Organization is the Product,” and this is the best video you’ll watch on getting a holistic approach to building a lean startup inside government.

The video features 18F Co-director Hillary Hartley, 18F Talent Director Jennifer Tress, 18F Infrastructure Director Noah Kunin, 18F Designer Nick Brethauer and PIF Director Garren Givens.

Government and the ’empowered product owner’

The 18F Delivery team released a “Partnership Playbook” that aims to help federal agencies understand what to expect when working with 18F, and the gem within is play number two, “We work with an empowered product owner.”

The product owner will soon evolve into one of the most important roles in government technology, so it’s critical for those leading development teams to understand its application.

Key excerpt:

We work best with an empowered product owner who can make decisions about the project we’re partnering on. In agile development, a product owner is responsible for project scoping and prioritizing. Our delivery team will rely on the product owner for direction as the project develops. This product owner must be empowered to make decisions about the product. The product owner should be experienced at getting buy-in from other organizational leaders; support should be lined up before our engagement.

We look for a product owner who has already lined up internal stakeholder support. Any project will impact a number of internal agency groups and systems, so it will need buy-in and technical integration support from those people. The product owner garners this buy-in and support. Before the engagement starts, the owner should have had conversations with and identified champions in relevant internal groups. Beginning these conversations in the middle of development can grind everything to a halt; they should be well underway by the time a digital service team is brought on board to deliver. We recommend that you map out the relevant stakeholders before embarking on a project.

Having an empowered product owner is crucial to decisions getting made and having a solid product vision. Play number two is required reading for everyone building government digital services.

Retrospecting agile government

Last week, I was in New Orleans for the CivicActions corporate retreat, and presented to the team on the work done around Agile Government Leadership, and I wanted to share some of this here because, while there’s still much to do around changing government project management practices, we’ve accomplished a great deal over the past 18 months since its inception.

Here’s an overview:


  • Momentum: This isn’t necessarily a reflection on the work we’re doing, but more the reality on the time it takes to bring awareness and influence culture change. We’ve seen this with government adoption of open source and open data, and changing project management practices, especially when procurement policies play a big role, will take time.

Next steps:

We’re currently conducting a survey on how AGL can best address the community needs, so please take the survey.

Additional thoughts:

When you’re in the weeds building something, you don’t always take the time to fully step back and take a holistic look at what’s been accomplished, but I’m really proud of the work that’s been done by so many people. Big shout out and thank you to the AGL steering committee and my colleagues Elizabeth Raley, Henry Poole, Aaron Pava, Bill Ogilvie and the entire CivicActions team for supporting this initiative.

AGL is proof that true civic innovation is about collaboration across the public and private sectors, focusing on impact, adding value and, when it comes to transforming government, believing in the long game.

Take the 2015 Agile Government Survey

Agile Government LeadershipAgile Government Leadership wants to learn more about the state of agile project management in government, its challenges and successes, and how AGL can better support the community.

The 2015 Agile Government Survey is now open to public sector employees and private sector vendors across all professional areas of expertise (executive, procurement, project managers, developers).

Please take a few minutes to participate in the survey and share with your colleagues.

Register: ‘Agile Government and the State of Maine’

MaineAgile Government Leadership will host its next AGL Live, “Agile Government and the State of Maine,” featuring Maine Director of Business Process Management Douglas Averill.

AGL Steering Committee Member Robert L. Read will host and moderate the discussion.

The Google Hangout on Air will be held on May 21, 4-5:00 p.m. ET.

Register here.

Video overview of Maine’s agile adoption:

Government-focused DevOpsDays ​DC set for June 11-12

Limited tickets are available for the first DevOpsDays DC, June 11-12, 2015, at the US Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia.

According to organizers, the event is for “executives, program managers, and engineers considering or actively implementing DevOps at their organization.”

USPTO Chief Information Officer John B. Owens will keynote.

“We are excited to be hosting this inaugural event for the DC region, home to so many innovators in the private and federal sector,” said Owens announcing the event. “We know how important DevOps is to our enterprise, and how our recent strides help us better serve our customers at the USPTO. We look forward to the networking and new ideas this event will bring everyone.”

Government registration is $100. Register here.