Government Shutdown and its impact to Agile projects

Metronome SAFe software, makes it easy for Agile Teams to adjust and re-plan.

By Raj Sankavaram (LinkedIn Bio)

As the partial government shutdown enters Day 30, its effects are trickling down far beyond the brick and mortar agency structures in Washington. Large and small businesses with federal contracts are experiencing uncertainty and confusion as work is slowing down and, in many cases, has come to a complete stop.

In most cases, contractors can continue to work- and most important to them, “bill”, against existing federal projects if funding is already obligated and is occurring within approved periods of performance. However, federal sponsors can also issue stop work orders that require the project to stop during a government shutdown. A stop work order generally means that all project work needs to stop immediately, and no hours can be billed nor can expenses be incurred on the project as of the effective date of the stop work order.

So, what does this all mean for those of us implementing programs in an agile manner using the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)? How do we account for the sudden change in capacity during iteration execution? To expand on this, how can contactor teams supporting federal programs during the government shutdown continue to deliver value on a cadence while maintaining their integrity and rhythm?

All of us affected by the shutdown now must adjust our development timeboxes and resynchronize, to map our roadmaps with reality. If some of us are affected and some of us are not (say, for example, security services contractors whose work is deemed essential and they continue working on their deliverables) we will have to see how the dependencies change.

How do we do these things in a visual manner? Luckily, a tool like Metronome now exists to help.

Metronome helps agile teams to reset the Program Increment and Iteration Dates. Using this 100% ‘SAFe’ ALM tool, Agile teams will now be able to adjust the development timebox that uses cadence and synchronization to plan and deliver value continuously.

Reset the Program Increment and Iteration Dates
Metronome – SAFe Program Increment and Iteration Dates

Teams can adjust their capacity on the Program Board.

Metronome SAFe ALM Program Board

Metronome – SAFe Program Board

And limit their WIP on the Story Kanban Board.

Agile teams can limit their WIP

Metronome – SAFe Kanban Board

Teams can also ‘Clone a Feature’ to split a Feature and move the stories that are not completed to the cloned Feature onto the next Iteration.

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