CACI Q&A With Agile Solution Factory Growth & Communications Lead Ashley Strickland
Leading technology companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon deploy hundreds of software changes a day without sacrificing security, stability, quality, or performance. By contrast, government organizations often struggle to deploy a few releases annually.
There is a good reason for this: the U.S. government operates in a cyberspace environment that has understandably rigorous security constraints – they aren’t on the same “deploy-on-demand” playing field as commercial firms.
In the interview below, CACI’s Agile Solution Factory (ASF) Growth & Communications Lead Ashley Strickland discusses how the Agile Solution Factory methodology helps government customers achieve the same rapid results as their commercial counterparts. If you wish to schedule an interview with Ashley, please contact CACI Corporate Communications at [email protected].
How has CACI specifically adapted and applied Agile to government, and how has it proven successful?
Currently, CACI’s Agile Solution Factory (ASF) is executing on the two largest Agile transformations in the federal marketplace, in addition to numerous other programs.
The key to Agile transformation in a government software development environment is continuous testing, diagnosing, and fixing of any software issues to ensure there is minimal interruption to the customer’s mission, which is often of critical importance to national security. Quality is essential. At the Agile Solution Factory, we significantly improve the speed at which the user receives critical software, and as we develop software that is more modular and secure, customer satisfaction goes up.
Automation also plays a very important role. Our team has implemented scores of automation tools and processes in over 18 years of commercial and government Agile experience. We use advanced automation frameworks in development, security, and operations – DevSecOps – to drive continuous efficiencies and performance gains.
Can you give us an example of your success?
On one of our very large Agile transformations, we were the prime integrator of a major DoD program. We successfully executed an Agile transition on our first day of the contract. That had never been done before at such scale. Since that first-day transition in 2013, our DoD stakeholders have realized numerous benefits, including:
- Increasing software development productivity by 67 percent;
- Reducing implementation costs by 58 percent;
- Delivering 99 percent defect-free software; and
- Accelerating time-to-market by 70 percent.
What differentiates CACI’s Agile Solution Factory from other Agile methodologies?
As with traditional factories, we measure and forecast throughput and then calibrate where needed to improve performance — the Agile Solution Factory is as much a way of doing business as it as a place of business.
What sets us apart is the way we manage our work, and how we organize our people. In 2017 we took this even further, we opened our purpose-built Agile Solution Factory facility in Ashburn, VA. It was expressly designed to enhance our Agile methodology and share and implement our best practices across different programs. We honed these practices and implemented cloud-based automation tools, so that even now, with our teams and customers mostly working from home, we are still delivering high quality software at a rapid pace.
On the DoD program I mentioned, for example, we have a set of product scrum teams that span our Ashburn facility to our Colorado Springs, Colorado facility. Those experts develop many of our key modernization and innovation capabilities for the program. We host a virtual environment where our experts, teams and customers access the same tools and information. This virtual environment facilitates dynamic collaboration across the team, so we can apply the model across a wide geographic range. We have other instantiations of the Agile Solution Factory across the National Capital Region and in New Orleans, Louisiana.
What are you most proud of?
I’m very proud that the Defense Acquisition University called the ASF “The Best Implementation of Agile at Scale.” Over 200 government programs have engaged in technical exchanges with us and toured the Ashburn facility to gather lessons learned and hear about best practices on Agile transformation, optimization, scaling, and holistic integration. I’m particularly proud of the culture we’ve developed driving incredible results achieved for our customers, further positioning CACI as the leader in driving the benefits of Agile throughout the government.