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GAO Issues Report on Best Practices, Challenges in Agile Software Dev’t

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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report stating that the federal government should consider implementing Agile software development practices to encourage early customer input and other organizational benefits.

“Agile is an approach to software development that encourages collaboration across an organization and allows requirements to evolve as a program progresses,” the report states.

GAO said in the report published Tuesday that its Agile Assessment Guide outlines best practices for the software development concept including dynamic, team-based operations and requirements prioritization.

The watchdog also recommends agencies to establish an integrated team that will handle contracting, program management and software development operations to streamline collaborations with industry partners.

According to GAO, implementing Agile best practices will help agencies be more flexible in addressing evolving technological obstacles while reducing program risks and accelerating deliveries.

However, the watchdog noted that agencies must be prepared to face challenges such as the need for organizational commitment, technology transition issues, mistrust in iterative procedures and misaligned agency practices.

“By engaging customers early and iterating often, agencies that adopt Agile can also reduce the risks of funding failing programs or outdated technology,” the report added.