Agile Government Leadership recently posted the Agile Government Handbook. It's a nice primer to Agile for govvies. It tackles the first issue of describing Agile in the context of government. The post introducing it provides a good background:
"One of the recurring issues I heard, from both government employees and contractors, was that there needed to be a basic understanding of what Agile was in the context of government. There is an “Agile divide” between those who fully grok and are practicing it, and those who hear and process it only as a buzzword or passing trend or something unrelated to functions outside of technology project management."

More and more, when I hear people describe their Agile government work, the first things they say are:
  • Yeah, we're Agile. We do 2 week sprints. 
  • Yeah, we're Agile. We have daily standups. 
It makes me cringe. Agile in government is different. I accept that. But, I keep sensing a strict adherence to Scrum and its ceremonies instead of a true Agile mindset. Two week sprints and standups shouldn't be the first thing that comes to mind when being Agile.

Here are the first things I'd rather hear:
  • Yeah, we're Agile. We switched to four week sprints because that cadence is a much better fit for our team and this project.
  • Yeah, we're Agile. The CO helped us write an Agile-friendly RFP.
  • Yeah, we're Agile. We skip the daily standups on Fridays because the devs requested a meeting-free day.
  • Yeah, we're Agile. We just implemented an initial vertical-slice of the solution and realized it's got some big holes. It's back to the drawing board, but luckily we learned it now.
  • Yeah, we're Agile. We embedded an Office of IT rep on the team and now she's going to reduce some of the required documentation in the SDLC.
  • Yeah, we're Agile. We embrace uncertainty. We know we can't predict what the users really want months in advance.
  • Yeah, we're Agile.  Look at our story map!

  • Yeah, we're Agile. We ran a 60 person team to build a mobile data collection system for the Swedish national police using a whiteboard and post-its.

  • Yeah, we're Agile. Our users like our software!