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CMS Agile Transformation

CMS is adopting an Agile Mindset to achieve outcomes critical to the agency as it strives to meet current and future visions and missions, such as accelerating the delivery of value, improving fit-for-purpose of delivered solutions, and reducing project risk. Any delivery process or approach that we adopt must achieve these outcomes to succeed. Each program is expected to engage with its stakeholders to agree on the approach that they will use to meet the following goals:

  • Continuous Customer Engagement – Engage with business owners, system users and other stakeholders early and often to validate system outcomes and receive feedback. Continue customer engagement after operations by collecting and analyzing usage data to improve solutions and customer experiences.
  • Early, Frequent Delivery of Incremental Value – Provide increments of usable product to end-users early within the program and frequently thereafter. This also supports continuous learning through early and frequent feedback on the product.
  • Transparency – Update project data continuously so it is easily accessible for stakeholders and always current. Example data include team members, objectives, forecasted roadmaps, product and sprint backlogs, milestones, features, stories, burn down charts, dependencies, risks, key decisions, architecture/design documents, and other relevant information.
  • Continuous and Embedded Governance – Governance is applied through cadence based reviews, tools, and transparency to achieve continuous compliance. Through incremental or continuous compliance reviews, appropriate documentation generation, and embedding standards compliance into tools, organizational and governance controls are built into the development process.
  • Sustainable, Predictable Delivery Cadence – Delivering regularly and consistently is more important than delivering "faster." Teams and programs focus on establishing sustainable, predictable planning and delivery cycles. Teams make reliable commitments, deliver on those commitments, and build trust with stakeholders.
  • Decentralized Decision Making and Governance – By understanding the thresholds and distinctions between centralized and decentralized decisions, teams are empowered to move quickly when decisions are deemed decentralized. Governance and controls are built in by leveraging Agile processes and tools that maintain transparency and align to strategic direction and goals.
  • Experimentation and Fast Learning Cycles – Encourage and incentivize innovative thinking through experimentation and learning. Use pilots and prototypes to try new tools, methods, and processes in a controlled manner to collect information and inform future development. Celebrate "LEARNING" for the knowledge gained from all experiments, including those that failed.
  • Built-in Quality – Through planned architecture, early test development, continuous testing, frequent solution-level integration, refactoring, demos, code reviews, and other methods, product quality is embedded into every aspect of the development cycle. Quality is planned for and built into the solution from the beginning.
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