Agile Development of Hardware-Reliant Systems

April 18–19, 2023

Washington, DC

Challenge: Rapidly advancing threats and technologies have increased the need for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to develop, field, and upgrade operational capabilities to ensure mission effectiveness and success more quickly. Agile development along with DevSecOps (development, security, and operations) can accelerate acquisition and improve relevance. Industry has successfully applied Agile and DevSecOps to software, hardware, and inter-reliant hardware/software systems. The DoD has embarked on this journey—but primarily only for software systems. However, continuous innovation and deployment is a total system concern, and involves hardware components in a system as well as software, business process, funding, and all other human-oriented intangible components.

Background: Agile enterprises recognize that deploying new systems or capabilities cannot wait on the slowest components of the system. Instead, all components need to be deployed when ready, and both systems and organizations need to be structured to support modularity and flow. The DoD has struggled to make the shift to Agile. Over years of employing more sequential approaches, the Department, like other organizations, has created siloed organizations responsible for one part of the process with movement to a different stage (silo) triggered by full completion of the activity, coupled with large testing events at the end of development. Alternatively, the core principle behind Agile is “flow.” The flow of work should continue consistently across cycles of product strategy, resources, product development and test, and product support. With Digital Transformation, the DoD can reduce phase durations and cycle times in all phases of development and acquisition. By integrating Agile and DevSecOps initiatives, the DoD can improve flow, allowing components to react more quickly to changing end-user demands.

Workshop Focus: Agile practices for hardware-intensive systems in Digital Engineering and Digital Acquisition as a primary driver to agile product development, along with focused adaptations in acquisition practices and policy in support of agile transformation.

Format: A working discussion and sharing of applied academic, industry, and government best practices, lessons, DoD challenges, and progress.

Goals: Develop a set of foundational practices and research vectors relating to hardware-related Agile and DevSecOps and Digital Engineering/Acquisition to provide practical advice to programs in applying these techniques to both hardware and software elements of acquired systems while facilitating workforce training and improvement.

Who Should Attend? Individuals from across academia, industry, and government who are conducting applied research, policy making, process development, and execution of hardware-related agile development across all dimensions of DoD programs—acquisition, policy, engineering, and technology—with the objective of achieving agility at enterprise scale.