NESDIS was planning to transform from a system-centric organization to a product- and service-centric one by migrating toward a cloud-enabled NESDIS Ground Enterprise (NGE). The NGE includes all IT systems used for data ingest, processing, storage, and dissemination across all NESDIS Offices and Programs. NESDIS was seeking specialized Subject Matter Experts (SME) to advise, assess, evaluate, and recommend innovative technologies, solutions, and practices for the proposed transformation. These SMEs are highly experienced and knowledgeable in Scaled Agile Framework as certified SAFe Practice Consultants. GAMA-1 understood that to provide secure and timely access to global environmental data and information from satellites and other sources to anyone in any place (authorized users) while protecting the Nation’s security, environment, economy, and quality of life, NESDIS needed to transform from the system-specific, stovepipe architecture into a service-centric enterprise. We acknowledged that changing the culture is NESDIS’ primary challenge during its transformation efforts.
As a Scaled Agile Silver Partner, GAMA-1 accesses the Scaled Agile Partner Portal and Center knowledge base and the Partner Enablement Program Providing Enterprise Resources program, the scaled Agile Advisory Service Team, and Scaled Agile thought leaders to help NESDIS scale Agile through the proven Scaled Agile Framework®. As a Silver Partner, our staff members are experts in the SAFe framework as certified SAFe Practice Consultants (SPCs). They are trained to provide our customers with the highest level of support throughout their SAFe Implementation journey. We provided training sessions for NESDIS to help familiarize all staff with the basics of the SAFe lexicon. A key component of the Silver Partnership, GAMA-1 has direct access to Scaled Agile staff through an annual pairing day at a customer site to provide an even higher layer of customer service to help strategize to find solutions in improvement areas.
Through our NOAA NESDIS Subject Matter Expert Cloud Development and Innovation Initiatives (SCDII) and Application and Science Common Services Support (ASCSS) contracts, GAMA-1 tailored, designed, and introduced the Enterprise Scaled Agile Framework. We guided organizational transformation, introducing methodologies, roles, responsibilities, coaching, and training needed to move from legacy software development methodologies to a Scaled Agile Framework.
ASCSS has been progressing toward increasing agility over the last two years. Starting with teaching and practicing agile fundamental values and practices, progressing to agile frameworks and tools, and now entering into the SAFe to become part of the NESDIS Common Cloud Framework (NCCF) structure.
GAMA-1 trained all team members with SAFe for Teams and subsequent training for SAFe for Product Owners.
ASCSS Teams are practicing “product thinking,” where we’ve reorganized our teams around specific product groupings and key steps to developing Value Streams. We implemented a simple scale to estimate work items’ size, complexity, risk, and dependencies. We eliminated non-value work items, increased emphasis on creating high-value work items, and implemented Product Backlog Refinement sessions.
GAMA-1 introduced Jira Roadmaps to map current and future work, resulting in more predictability and providing a visual rendering of due dates, milestones, and dependencies.
“We recently implemented all-hands retrospectives to share ideas and improvements across ASCSS while developing the Algorithm Orchestration (AO) system defining the Algorithm Orchestration Value Stream, which is essential for this team to join the NCCF Agile Release Train (ART),” stated Gerald Stark, Vice President of Business Development.
Since October 2022, ASCSS has trained in basic GitLab, 31 science teams comprising 154 scientists from STAR, CIMSS (University of Wisconsin), CIRA (University of Colorado), and the University of Maryland. Additionally, 19 scientists (17 from STAR and two from CIMSS) representing 11 science teams have taken the GitLab CI/CD training. More training is being scheduled.
An unprecedented level of collaboration between federal and contractor staff to efficiently and quickly deliver success for NESDIS – A no small feat!
NESDIS is being recognized not just across NOAA but across other federal agencies and partners as trailblazers with the use of Agile – In large part due to the relentless effort and work our team has put into this project.
Collaborative Project with Federal and Contractor Teams
Agile Software Development: Demonstrated that Agile software development CAN and SHOULD be used in NESDIS to deliver business value faster – this is a big cultural change and our team proved it’s achievable.