Agile influences the USAGov

In a recent blog post, the Social Media Manager at USAGov, Jessica Milcetich, highlighted how the team of editors and writers for the web portal of the US federal government embraced agile principles.

In a bid to streamline the content development process, they addressed team challenges, such as being asked to support new projects, competing priorities and bottlenecks and silos, but in an agile fashion.

According to Milcetich, working in agile allows resources to be shifted, whatever the users need. “If it’s tax season and we need to make major updates to our tax content, we can now more easily pull anyone from the team to support that effort. We’re able to balance resources to match priorities and work in a more proactive, rather than reactive, manner,” she added.

Culture change

In this case, switching to agile implies grooming backlog requests, holding bi-weekly sprint planning meetings and retrospectives and using a board to track work in progress.

“It was a big change in the way we work. Our previous model had been based on a newsroom-style operation where people were clustered together around specific areas of content to use the journalism terminology,” admitted Milcetich.

“The newsroom model works really well for media outlets with bigger teams of people, but for a small government content team, it wasn’t the best fit because it didn’t easily allow people to support projects or user needs not on their beat.”

In order to keep things moving, employees regularly communicate about the status of work and roadblocks.

“While our process isn’t perfect, and we’re certainly still learning as we go, operating in a more agile manner has helped us focus our priorities and deliver content that will help our users accomplish their tasks,” said Milcetich.

Written from blog post by Leah Alger