U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

Since APHIS was formed in 1972, it has evolved into a multi-faceted Agency with responsibilities that include protecting and promoting U.S. agricultural health from foreign pests and diseases, regulating genetically engineered organisms, administering the Animal Welfare Act, and carrying out wildlife damage management activities. Its vision is to advance the well-being of U.S. consumers by ensuring the health and availability of affordable food products and protecting forests and private working lands against devastating pests and diseases so that U.S. farmers, ranchers, and other citizens of our rural communities thrive and prosper. Phase One is providing on-going operations & maintenance as well as development, modernization, and enhancement support to the core set of systems that support the APHIS vision.

Why This Matters To You

Modern technology management requires being as cost efficient as possible in order to maximize the amount of funding that goes directly to mission areas. Applying innovative approaches to what used to be mundane IT tasks of operations and maintenance ultimately results in better, more efficient mission activities.

Agile development accelerates the delivery of initial business value, and through a process of continuous planning and feedback, is able to ensure that value is continuing to be maximized throughout the development process. As a result of this iterative planning and feedback loop, teams are able to continuously align the delivered software with desired business needs, easily adapting to changing requirements throughout the process. As a result of following an agile process, at the conclusion of a project is a software system that much better addresses the business and customer needs.

This approach results in faster ROI, lower risk, more transparency, and better visibility to the customer on what is being delivered and when.

How We Helped

More efficient and successful technology management starts with rigorous, integrated strategy and planning. Our program management approach is designed to consolidate all IT processes, procedures, and governance into a unified cross-system approach. As a result, individual system sprints are conducted in the context of an overall architected roadmap. In this we, the client knows what capability will be developed by when and how it fits into the bigger picture.

For APHIS we implemented a staffing model that provided:

  1. clear accountability and points of contact assigned to each system, and
  2. a pool of resources that are leveraged efficiently across the set of systems, as appropriate. This approach represented a critical management innovation to ensure the client could efficiently leverage resources across O&M and DME activities and did not have staff sitting around waiting for things to do. We applied the Agile approach to O&M so that our scrum teams were always active and focused on value-added activities.

The team also leverage the Rally tool to manage Agile activities. In doing so, Phase One helped APHIS save an immediate $400,000 in licensing fees and is improving program management tracking and communications between the government and contractor staff.