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Using System Dynamics Modeling to Understand the Impact of Federal Constraints in Implementing the Agile Methodology within the U.S. Federal Government Open Access

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The agile methodology is the incremental, continuous development and delivery of software, providing a continuous stream of software solutions that meet the customer’s needs. The U.S. federal government has realized the advantages of this methodology and has decided to utilize this methodology in acquiring and developing software solutions for its agencies. However, the overall implementation of this methodology within the different agencies of the government has not been consistent both regarding its effectiveness and success; as such, the ability to deliver effective software solutions within the desired cost, schedule, and performance parameters has been a challenge. Using a system dynamics model, research was conducted to understand how constraints in requirements, schedule, contract types, performance capability, and information assurance have impacted the effective implementation of the agile methodology. The research results were validated against four agile projects, with the results showing cost constraints, schedule delays and performance decline when constraints are applied. Based on these findings, the extent and validity of the constraints’ impacts in utilizing the agile methodology were proven to be significant factors, and understanding these impacts will help create plans and strategic direction on how agile can be implemented appropriately in federal agencies, advancing the understanding of general project management of agile projects within the U.S. federal environment.

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